Imaging test: Images of your inside organs are created via imaging examinations. These tests allow your doctors to see inside your body, including your pancreas. Ultrasound, computerised tomography (CT) scans, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), and, in certain cases, positron emission tomography (PET) scans are all used to diagnose pancreatic cancer.
Ultrasound: Creating ultrasound images of your pancreas with a scope. Endoscopic ultrasound (EUS) is a procedure that employs an ultrasound instrument to produce images of your pancreas from within your belly. To obtain the images, the instrument is sent down your throat and into your stomach using a tiny, flexible tube (endoscope).
Biopsy: Taking a sample of tissue for testing (biopsy). A biopsy is a technique in which a tiny sample of tissue is removed and examined under a microscope. During an EUS, tissue is usually harvested by passing specific tools via the endoscope. A sample of tissue from the pancreas is collected less frequently by putting a needle through your skin and into your pancreas (fine-needle aspiration).
Blood test: Your doctor may perform a blood test to look for certain proteins (tumour markers) released by pancreatic cancer cells. CA19-9 is a tumour marker test used in pancreatic cancer. It could help you figure out how your cancer responds to treatment. However, the test isn’t always accurate because some people with pancreatic cancer don’t have elevated CA19-9 levels, making it ineffective.
If your doctor confirms a pancreatic cancer diagnosis, he or she will try to assess the cancer’s extent (stage). Your doctor assigns a stage to your pancreatic cancer based on the results of staging tests, which helps identify which treatments are most likely to help you.