Stages of pancreatic cancer

Staging shows how advanced the cancer is (whether it has spread). The tests for pancreatic cancer not only diagnose the cancer, but help doctors determine the stage of the cancer and the best treatment for you. There are 4 stages of pancreatic cancer:

Stage 1

Cancer is found only in the pancreas and has not spread to any organs next to the pancreas. This is known as early-stage disease.

Stage 2

A tumour that is confined to the pancreas and local lymph nodes (small bean-like structures near the pancreas) may be involved.

Stage 3

This is an inoperable tumour involving some large blood vessels. There may be spread to the lymph nodes near to the pancreas.

Stage 4

The cancer has spread to other organs, such as the liver, lungs or lining of the abdomen. This can be referred to as metastatic disease.


Prognosis means the expected outcome of a disease. You will need to discuss your prognosis and treatment options with your specialists. However, it is not possible for any doctor to predict exactly what will happen.

The sooner pancreatic cancer is diagnosed, the better the prognosis. This is because the cancer may not have spread beyond the pancreas and treatment can be started earlier.

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Information Product No. PCA0011v1 | Published: 03/01/2014 | Last Updated: 22/05/2019 | Next Review Due: 03/01/2017