Diagnostic Tests

Diagnostic Tests for Pancreatic Cancer

Pancreatic cancer can be difficult to diagnose. That’s partly because the pancreas is located deep in the belly and is difficult to feel or examine, and partly because symptoms may develop gradually.

The difficulty is further complicated by the fact that there currently is no standard diagnostic test for pancreatic cancer. So if a person has symptoms that suggest pancreatic cancer, his or her doctor may use a variety of tests to make the diagnosis and to stage the cancer.

The tests may include a number of different imaging tests (MRI, CT, PET, and ultrasound) as well as blood chemistry studies, biopsies, and more.

The diagnostic tests the doctor orders may differ depending on whether he or she suspects an exocrine tumor or a pancreatic neuroendocrine tumor (PNET).

For a list of possible diagnostic tests for exocrine tumors, and explanations of them, visit cancer.gov, the website of the National Cancer Institute. A similar list, with fuller explanations, can also be found on pancan.org, the website of the Pancreatic Action Network.

Read more at cancer.govThis link is to a third-party website.

Read more at pancan.orgThis link is to a third-party website.

For a list of possible diagnostic tests for pancreatic neuroendocrine tumors and explanations of them, visit cancer.gov, the website of the National Cancer Institute.