Population Science

Marginalized and medically underserved communities experience health disparities across the board, including for pancreatic cancer. Many marginalized communities have higher incidence and mortality rates for pancreatic cancer. This may be driven by a combination of challenges with accessing care, limited screening, late stage diagnoses, or low clinical trial enrollment.

The Brenden-Colson Center for Pancreatic Care is teaming with the Knight Cancer Institute’s Community Outreach, Research, and Engagement (CORE) program to engage in community projects that address health disparities. The CORE program monitors cancer burden and disparities, supports cancer research that is relevant to Oregonians, provides outreach to underserved and marginalized populations, establishes programs to increase distribution of evidence-based cancer information, and effectively engages with community members and organizations around cancer related needs.

Ongoing Research Projects

The HOP project and repository is an app-based platform focused on providing hereditary cancer screening and collecting behavioral, lifestyle and environmental minimal-exposure data from communities throughout Oregon. HOP is run by Dr. Jackilen Shannon and the Cancer Early Detection and Research (CEDAR) center at OHSU with the support of geneticists, community outreach specialists, scientists, and genetic counselors dedicated to understanding how a person’s genetics, environment, and behavior can affect their cancer risk. To date nearly 40,000 Oregonians have enrolled in HOP, and HOP has identified 179 individuals with a family history or a mutation in one of the genes of interest for pancreatic cancer screening. BCCPC is working closely with HOP to reach individuals who are eligible for pancreatic cancer surveillance and to offer enrollment in early detection studies.

Pancreatic cancer incidence rate in tribal communities in Oregon is 20.2 per 100,000— higher than the incidence rate in tribes across the Pacific Northwest (15.6 per 100,000) and in all of the U.S. (8.7 per 100,000). Dr. Claymore Kills First and the BCCPC are working with the CORE team to understand and address barriers for these communities to participate in pancreatic cancer screening, treatment and clinical trials.