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NICE guidelines recommend a CT scan as first line investigation for pancreatic cancer. Abdominal ultrasound is a suitable replacement where there is no access to CT but detection rates are lower. CA19-9 is considered a possible biomarker for pancreatic cancer but it lacks specificity and efficacy.
Download a full copy of the NICE Referral and Pancreatic Cancer Guidelines here: NG12 Guidance 20150724
Users of EMIS can request a free download from Primary Care Pathways of the Pancreatic Cancer risk tool, created in association with Pancreatic Cancer Action. The tool, based on NICE guidelines, provides an alert for patients with red flag symptoms for pancreatic cancer. The alert notifies you of the risk of pancreatic cancer and suggests some next steps.
Go to www.primarycarepathways.co.uk to find out more.
If you have a patient who has been referred for diagnostic tests for pancreatic cancer, PCA has a number of free information booklets which may help them to understand the disease and the waiting process.
Our first booklet, “What is pancreatic cancer and how is it diagnosed?” can support your discussions with patients and give them information to take away.
All of our booklets can be viewed online or ordered free to the UK.
You may want to signpost patients to the diagnosis pages of our website. These resources can help to reassure patients regarding the waiting process and explain that a referral for pancreatic cancer does not mean that you definitely have the disease. These pages can explain which diagnostics are included in testing for pancreatic cancer and what might happen next.
The website also includes patient stories, if your patient is worrying that a pancreatic cancer diagnosis would be a death sentence, these stories may provide hope in an otherwise very worrying time. They will also help see that they are not alone.