Pancreatic Cancer 2022 Summit
Early March – date and time to be confirmed

The Pancreatic Cancer 2022 Summit is a repeat summit (previous summits held 2014 and 2017)
As a repeat summit, data comparison to previous years and project updates will be included

Summit Flyer

If you have been invited to register your interest in attending by an Integrated Cancer Service, please contact your local ICS manager to provide your registration details. 






Leigh Matheson

(03) 4215 0459


Kerry Davidson

(03) 5320 4782


Stewart Harper

(03) 5128 0138


Sian Wright

(03) 5832 8301


Ilana Solo

(03) 5454 8383


Katherine Simons

(03) 9496 3322


Seleena Sherwell

(03) 9928 8159


Kathy Quade

(03) 8559 9070


Update Mon 4 Oct 2021

National upper gastrointestinal (GI) cancer patient support services – PanSupport® 
Pancare Foundation

The support networks and services that exist for more common cancers are lacking for upper GI cancers. As a result, access to information and ease of treatment pathways are compromised. 

In recognition of this need, leading not-for-profit Pancare Foundation – an organisation committed to inspiring hope, raising awareness, supporting families and funding research for upper GI cancers – launched PanSupport in 2020 to help provide specialised support to the 12,400 Australians diagnosed with an upper GI cancer each year. Shannon Gleeson, Pancare Foundation’s Upper GI Specialist Cancer Nurse, has seen a steady increase in demand for PanSupport services and programs, with a 250% increase over the past six months. 

Dedicated upper gastrointestinal cancer support for patients and their families

Clinicians play an essential role in ensuring that those living with an upper gastrointestinal (GI) cancer receive the best care possible and Pancare Foundation currently supports a vast network of health professionals and researchers to enable Australians affected by upper GI cancer to receive the latest evidence-based information and access personalised supportive care through our PanSupport programs. Shannon encourages clinicians to let their patients know about PanSupport. 'By referring your patients to the PanSupport service, you are ensuring that they have access to a successful support program when they are vulnerable and overwhelmed. The PanSupport team can help address patient and carer concerns, provide early intervention, reduce stress, and improve outcomes.'

PanSupport can help patients engage with experienced upper GI cancer care support staff, find dedicated information on living with cancer, access counselling support, obtain financial assistance and connect with others at our support groups.

PanSupport resources and information

Through the Pancare Foundation website, health professionals and patients can access a variety of resources and dedicated information on living with pancreatic, liver, stomach, biliary or oesophageal cancers – including how cancer is diagnosed, treatment options, managing symptoms, the importance of diet and exercise, clinical trials and practical ways to support emotional and physical wellbeing.

The PanSupport telehealth service enables both patients living with cancer and their carers to speak with the Pancare upper GI specialist cancer nurse or patient support manager, regardless of location. Our team can help patients and carers understand their diagnosis or treatment options, provide resources and information, or connect patients and carers with cancer services in their local area.

Pancreatic cancer patient Keon has accessed PanSupport services since diagnosis. 'Pancare Foundation have been a great source of support during my treatment with pancreatic cancer. Through their PanSupport program, I’ve had access to their specialist cancer nurse, Shannon, who has helped me access treatment options and kept me motivated and determined to beat this disease. They’ve connected me with other patients through their support groups which has allowed me to learn from other’s experiences. It has allowed me to provide support to others and has allowed me to remain positive about my situation.'

In addition to specialist nursing support and practical support, a PanSupport counsellor is available for 45-minute telehealth counselling sessions to help patients and carers alike in processing the emotional challenges of living with cancer. Our qualified counsellor can help patients and carers cope with a diagnosis and support those caring for loved ones.

PanSupport facilitates a range of online and in-person cancer support groups. These groups provide forums for people affected by upper GI cancer to come together in a supportive environment to share their lived experience, providing patients and carers with the opportunity to talk about their experience.

Shannon is hopeful that more upper gastrointestinal patients will access the PanSupport program.  'We want all people diagnosed with an upper GI cancer to know that there is support available, there is always hope and we are there to support them every step of the way – we are only one phone call away.'

To learn more about Pancare Foundation and our PanSupport program, or to discuss any specific support care information that your healthcare team many need to enable referral to Pancare services, please contact Sarah Collings, <>.

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Update Tue 3 Aug 2021

Pancreatic resectability project update

The pancreatic resectability project is an opportunity to shift patient outcomes by consistent and standardised radiological synoptic reporting, in this way providing valuable inputs into MDM discussion for patient surgery and therapy recommendations. The pilot conducted at Austin and Alfred Health concludes 30 September, 2021. A final report is currently planned for submission to the Department of Health in December. The steering committee will meet in September to look at the transition of the pilot at the two health services and the way forward in terms of the possible adoption of the tool at other key pancreatic centres that hold a HPB MDM.

To date, the synoptic tool has been applied to over 80 patients and participating radiologists certainly perceive value in using it to systematically and consistently assess CT scans. Positive feedback has been received from at least two surgeons associated with the project.

One of the key challenges of the project is associated with collecting the synoptic report data for externally generated CT scans at a local health service. For the purposes of the pilot the project team worked in partnership with the UGICR – radiologists can currently complete a synoptic report template hosted by the registry. A key consideration for the future includes the completion of a synoptic report at a health service, given that a significant proportion of CT scans considered at HPB MDMs are generated by outside providers, and therefore do not reside in local radiology information systems.

Abstracts of the project are being prepared for COSA and a presentation on the pilot will be held at the Pancreatic Cancer 2021 Summit in October.

Update Tue 17 Nov 2020
Dr Charles Pilgrim

Defining pancreatic cancer resectability 

Agreeing upon a standardised definition of what constitutes surgical resectability is a critical area of need in the treatment of pancreatic cancer. A pilot of a project aiming to develop a synoptic report defining resectability status in pancreatic cancer commenced at two health sites, The Austin and The Alfred, in October 2020. This pilot will run for one year. The project was born out of discussion on areas of deficiencies in the statewide data presented at the Pancreatic Cancer 2017 Summit.

Clinicians from across Victoria gathered at the Summit to identify unwarranted variations in clinical practice and outcomes that could be addressed through statewide action. One of the prioritised variations was the recognition that administration of systemic therapy for patients with pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) is critical to their longterm outlook.

In a series of post-Summit working party meetings, the importance of patients actually receiving effective systemic therapy was discussed. Delivering chemotherapy prior to surgery for patients with borderline resectable PDAC was acknowledged as an emerging and promising new approach. Central to considering this ‘neoadjuvant approach’ is the delineation of what constitutes borderline resectable disease versus what is clearly resectable or alternatively, what is clearly locally advanced and unresectable. The working party agreed on the importance of classifying pancreatic cancer using this terminology as it informs optimal treatment pathways and is more useful in clinical decision making than the AJCC (American Joint Committee on Cancer) pathological staging manual definition, only available following surgical resection. 

A statewide audit to investigate the use of systemic therapy was conducted. The audit confirmed inconsistencies in the classification of borderline resectable (BR) disease. The Summit working party suggested that agreeing on and adopting a common statewide definition of resectability in PDAC would would be critical to minimise variation in care and help ensure appropriate and consistent management of patients across Victoria. It would also assist with identifying patients for clinical trials and reporting treatment outcomes. 

Subsequently, SMICS and NEMICS worked together to propose a project in response to the identified need to agree on a statewide definition of BR pancreatic cancer. A project steering committee and working group representing pancreatic surgery centres across the state was established. The working group proposed the use of the ‘International consensus on definition and criteria of borderline resectable pancreatic ductal carcinoma 2017’1 and these guidelines were unanimously accepted. However, the need to embed this into clinical practice remained, and clinical consultation determined that a standardised CT reporting template for radiologists was required. This would allow accurate reporting according to the agreed guidelines by radiologists for surgeons at MDMs, and therefore appropriate treatment decisions for patients. 

Working group members were involved in the co-design of a template for clinical reporting. Development of the template was complex and required a true reflection of the process radiologists undertake to determine the disease status. The current pilot will allow for further refinement, should it be required, to ensure sufficient accuracy of the template. 

In undertaking the tool development, the radiologists showed a preference towards an electronic solution. The application REDCap was chosen as a suitable platform. As the resectability status is already collected and stored by the Upper Gastrointestinal Cancer Registry (UGICR) and is also collected via REDCap it became obvious that the storage of patient project data with the UGICR was appropriate. However, there was considerable oversight required regarding patient information security before the pilot could proceed. 

Another element of the process was the integration of the template into health service sites and a number of complexities needed to be overcome for this to be implemented. 

Should the pilot prove successful, there will be the option of offering a tested and verified template to Victorian health services. Further consideration of the location for the storage of patient data may however be required.
It is hoped that the agreement to use the 2017 international resectability guidelines and implementation of the new CT template will help Victorians with pancreatic cancer by:

  • assisting in complete, pertinent and accurate reporting of disease staging and resectability status in patients with non-metastatic PDAC 
  • assisting multidisciplinary teams in the decision-making process for the management of patients with non-metastatic PDAC 
  • minimising futile operative procedures from being performed on patients with locally advanced disease
  • leading to timely and appropriate referral to palliative care.



Pancreatic Cancer 2017 Summit Priorities Update

Monday 29/10/2018 

  • Victorian Tumour Summits has produced the Pancreatic Cancer 2017 Summit Prioritised Variations video. This video is a resource for clinicians, by clinicians. Featuring Drs Charles Pilgrim and Belinda Lee. 


Pancreatic Cancer 2017 Summit in pictures


What was the Pancreatic Cancer 2017 Summit?

Diagnosis and treatment of pancreatic cancer has a significant physical and emotional impact on patients and their loved ones.  The Victorian Tumour Summits are clinician led forums seeking to identify unwarranted variations in tumour based clinical practice and cancer outcomes that could be addressed through state-wide action. Seventy stakeholders from across Victoria gathered on November 24 to discuss variations in care and identify opportunities for improvement.

Watch the presentation by Professor Robert Thomas:


Watch the presentation by Ms Kathryn Whitfield:


Watch the data presentation by Dr Charles Pilgrim:

Watch a summary of the day by Dr Charles Pilgrim:


What is Data Telling Us?

  • One-year relative survival increased from 27% to 34% between 2011-15.
  • Post-operative mortality is low by international standards: 2.1% (30 days); 2.7% (90 days); 19.7% (1-year).
  • A decrease in the number of Victorian hospitals conducting low volumes of pancreatic resections (1-3 per year) from 10 to 4 between the 2014/15 and 2016/17 financial years.
  • Only 5% of patients who had curative surgery for non-metastatic pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma had neoadjuvant therapy.
  • 23% of patients who had curative surgery for non-metastatic pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma did not have adjuvant therapy.
  • The state-wide average for documented multidisciplinary meeting discussion was 70% in 2013-15.
  • 75% of deaths for pancreatic cancer occurred during a hospital admission.

Post-2017 Summit Update

Of these variations, several were prioritised for further investigation and action:

  1. Adjuvant therapy – 23% of patients who had curative surgery for non-metastatic pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma did not have adjuvant therapy.
  2. Multidisciplinary meetings – 70% was the state average for multidisciplinary meeting discussion in the years 2013-2015.
  3. Palliative care – 75% of pancreatic cancer deaths occur in hospital.

The clinical working party reconvened in March 2018 to revisit outcomes of the summit discussion and review additional evidence of prioritised variations.  

Further work has occurred to analyse cases who did not receive adjuvant therapy. It appears patients who underwent surgery in the NEMICS & BSWRICS regions were less likely to receive adjuvant therapy. Compared to patients who did receive therapy, these patients were:

  • Older
  • Spent a greater number of hours in ICU during their surgery episode
  • Had a longer length of stay during their surgery episode
  • Had a higher 30- and 90-day mortality rate following surgery

Of these patients, 26% were less than 70 years of age, had no known comorbidities and were alive 90 days following surgery.

In relation to multidisciplinary meetings, the working party highlighted the need for up-to-date data to determine the cause of the discussion rate for pancreatic cancer patients.  The group recognised it is likely that stage IV patients are not discussed due to limited multidisciplinary meeting resources.  

Data on hospital deaths was considered to indicate possible issues with the current usage of state-wide palliative care services.  Based on palliative care clinical feedback from studies on other cancer types, timeliness of contact with palliative care services could have a positive outcome on reducing the percentage of patients with pancreatic cancer dying in hospital. A focus for action has yet to be determined.

As of 2018 most clinical teams caring for pancreatic cancer patients in Victoria are aware of the variations in care prioritised at the summit, as well as the upcoming optimal cancer care pathways implementation program.  If you have had an opportunity to discuss how these variations relate to the care you provide and how you would create a measurable investigation, contact on (03) 9496 3455.

What is Pancare?

The Pancare Foundation was established to be the long-standing voice of those affected by pancreatic, liver, biliary, oesophageal and stomach cancers. Pancare work to save and improve lives through public awareness, support, education and research.

Pancare has produced a series of guides for patients and carers as they undergo their cancer journey:

  • Pancreatic Cancer Patient Handbook - provides a general introduction to pancreatic cancer, information on tests and investigations that help confirm a diagnosis and provides an overview of possible treatment options and the wider impact of the diagnosis.
  • Pancreatic Cancer Dietary Handbook - highlights important information about managing your diet if you have or have had pancreatic cancer.

Download patient and carer handbooks here

For hard copies contact Pancare on 1300 881 698 or email


Pancreatic Cancer Summit working party


Dr Rob Blum
Prof Christopher Christophi
Mr Dan Croagh
Mr David Deutscher
Mr Adrian Fox
A/Prof Peter Gibbs
Mr George Kalogeropoulos
Dr Richard Khor
A/Prof Brian Le
Dr Belinda Lee
Mr Mehrdad Nikfarjam
Mr Charles Pilgrim
Dr Babak Tamjid
A/Prof Niall Tebbutt
A/Prof Ben Thomson
A/Prof Valery Usatoff
Prof John Zalcberg


Project team


Ms Mirela Matthews
Ms Amy Sutherland
Ms Megan Dendle
Mr Luc te Marvelde
Ms Ella Stuart
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