How is pancreatic cancer diagnosed?

Pancreatic Cancer Action
Patient Information Booklets

What is Pancreatic cancer and how is it diagnosed?

This booklet for patients and carers describes pancreatic cancer, its causes and symptoms. It gives detailed information on the diagnostic tests used and the stages of pancreatic cancer. It includes a section on what to ask your doctor, where to go for further information and a glossary to explain many of the terms used.

Patients who present with one or more signs and symptoms of pancreatic cancer need quick investigation.

Diagnosis of pancreatic cancer can be complicated, and some patients are diagnosed with other conditions or have multiple appointments before they are referred to a specialist.

Tests for pancreatic cancer include first- and second-line investigations. Some tests are designed to find out the cause of your symptoms and if you have pancreatic cancer. Second line tests attempt to discover the size and stage of the tumour.

There are many treatment options and your doctors will need to assess your general health and fitness to help decide which is best for you.

These decisions are usually taken at a multi-disciplinary team (MDT) meeting.