Patients with symptoms suggestive of a possible pancreatic cancer require rapid investigation usually by way of a CT scan and early referral to a specialist unit for other investigations. Drainage of jaundice is not the immediate priority as this can result in delays and hamper specialist investigations.
You will need some investigations and tests so that your specialist team can diagnose, treat and monitor your condition. These tests are referred to as “staging investigations”. The results of these tests will provide information about the abnormal area in your pancreas and your general health. Your specialist team will also want to get to know you and your family so they can make the most appropriate treatment choice for you as an individual.
There are two aspects to “staging” investigations. Some are designed to find out as much as possible about the tumour itself, and some are designed to assess your general fitness. There are many treatment options and your doctors will be trying to work out which is best for you, taking into account all of the information. These decisions are usually taken at a multidisciplinary team meeting.
Multidisciplinary meeting (MDT)
Once all your investigations have been carried out, your specialist team will have a meeting to discuss the results of all your tests with their colleagues. This will include doctors from the X-ray, pathology and oncology departments. This means that many doctors will use their expert knowledge to make a decision about your diagnosis and treatment. Following this discussion, they will meet with you and your family and together decide on the most appropriate form of treatment for you.
Don’t be afraid to ask someone in your specialist team if anything is not clear or you would like more information.
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