Relationship between individual and family characteristics and psychosocial factors in persons with familial pancreatic cancer

Psychooncology. 2018 Jul;27(7):1711-1718. doi: 10.1002/pon.4712. Epub 2018 Apr 19.


Objective: Describe relationships between self-reported personal demographics or familial characteristics and psychosocial outcomes (Patient Reported Outcome Measurement Information System Global Health, Impact of Event Scale-Revised [pancreatic cancer risk-related distress], cancer risk perception, and cancer worry) in participants with inherited or familial pancreatic cancer risk.

Methods: A multisite cross sectional survey of adults with elevated pancreatic cancer risk based on family history. All variables were summarized with descriptive statistics. To assess univariate associations, t test and chi-square/Fisher's exact test were used, and backward model selection was used in multivariable analysis.

Results: Respondents (N = 132) reported moderate to high frequency of cancer worry and 59.3% perceived a 50% or more perceived lifetime risk for pancreatic cancer, which far exceeds objective risk estimates. Cancer worry was associated with female gender (P = .03) and pancreatic cancer risk specific distress (P = .05). Higher-risk perception was associated with having a high school education or less (P = .001), higher distress (P = .02), and cancer worry (P = .008) and family cancer death experience (P = .02). Higher distress was associated with experience as a caregiver to a seriously ill family member in the past 5 years (P = .006).

Conclusions: Individuals with inherited or familial pancreatic cancer risk experience cancer worry, distress, and have increased risk perception, particularly in the period following caring for a loved one with cancer. Routine evaluation of distress in this setting, as well as the development of supportive care resources, will help support patients living with risk for pancreatic cancer.

Keywords: cancer; oncology; pancreatic cancer risk; patient reported outcomes; psychosocial.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Anxiety / psychology*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Genetic Predisposition to Disease / psychology*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pancreatic Neoplasms / psychology*
  • Risk
  • Stress, Psychological / psychology*