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Pancreatic Cancer

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Detecting Pancreatic Cancer

CT scan (computed tomography)

 This is a special type of x-ray that creates detailed pictures of the inside of the body. CT scans are useful in finding cancer and in seeing how far it has spread. CT scans can also be used to help guide a biopsy needle into the precise area that might be cancer.

PET/CT scan

This new test combines the 2 types of scans to even better pinpoint the tumor. This test may be especially useful for spotting cancer that has spread beyond the pancreas and canít be removed by surgery. It may be useful for staging the caner. And it may even be able to spot early cancer.

Ultrasound

This test uses sound waves to produce pictures of the inside of the body. The pictures are combined by a computer to give a detailed image. This test can help tell what kind of a tumor is in the pancreas. Endoscope ultrasound is done with a probe placed through the mouth or nose into the stomach. The probe can be pointed toward the pancreas.

MRI (magnetic resonance imaging)

This test uses radio waves and strong magnets instead of x-rays to create cross-sectional pictures of the body. MRI scans are helpful in looking at the brain and spinal cord. MRI scans take longer than CT scans Ė often up to an hour.

RECAP (endoscope retrograde cholangiopancreatography)

In this test, a long flexible tube is passed down the throat, all the way into the small intestine. The doctor can see through the end of the tube and find where the common bile duct opens into the small intestine. A small amount of dye is then injected through the tube into the ducts. This dye outlines the ducts on x-rays. The pictures can show narrowed or blocked ducts that might be caused by a cancer of the pancreas.

Biopsy

During a biopsy a sample of tissue from the tumor is removed and looked at under a microscope to see if there are cancer cells.

 

 

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