Diagnosis of Pancreatic Cancer

People who have pancreatic cancer usually visit their doctor complaining of several non specific symptoms. The doctor would make the diagnosis of pancreatic cancer by performing various different tests such as:

  • A Physical Examination: This can help check for specific symptoms of the condition such as abdominal distension and swelling. It can also help the doctor check for fluid buildup in the abdomen.
  • Imaging Tests: After the physical examination, the doctor may ask for some imaging tests to confirm the presence of pancreatic cancer. These imaging tests include X rays, ultrasound of the abdomen and CT scan. Usually these tests may suffice, but sometimes, the doctor may also ask for more detailed imaging tests such as MRI and PET scans.
  • Blood Tests: This may be required to look for cancer markers and abnormal cell blood counts.
  • Biopsy: The doctor may get a biopsy of the tumor to check for its chemical properties. The cancer may grow inconspicuously and the doctor may use an endoscope to get a small sample of the tumor.
Apart from these, you can also get some other tests for Pancreatic Cancer. Doctors may also prescribe urinalysis and analyses of other fluids such as your sputum and mucus. This helps the doctor to look for various cancer markers and other chemicals indicative of cancers.

Frequently asked questions
  1. Albert B. Lowenfels, Patrick Maisonneuve, Epidemiology and risk factors for pancreatic cancer, Best Practice & Research Clinical Gastroenterology, Volume 20, Issue 2, April 2006, Pages 197-209, ISSN 1521-6918, 10.1016/j.bpg.2005.10.001.
  2. Andrea Mancuso, Fabio Calabrò, Cora N. Sternberg, Current therapies and advances in the treatment of pancreatic cancer, Critical Reviews in Oncology/Hematology, Volume 58, Issue 3, June 2006, Pages 231-241, ISSN 1040-8428, 10.1016/j.critrevonc.2006.02.004.