If your healthcare provider believes you may have pancreas cancer, you will need certain exams and tests to be sure. You should expect to be asked questions about your health history, your symptoms, risk factors and family history of disease. Understanding your background will help your provider make a diagnosis.
You may have one or more of the following tests.
- X-rays. These quick and easy imaging studies use
- Computed tomography
(CT ). During this imaging test, X-rays create cross-sectional images of the body.
- Positron emission tomography (PET) scan. PET scans are useful for examining cancer throughout your body and can help determine the current stage of the cancer. PET is sometimes used in conjunction with a CT scan to better pinpoint the cancer in question.
- Ultrasound. This test uses high-frequency sound waves to make images of body tissues on a computer screen. Ultrasounds do not use radiation.
Though the most definitive test for pancreatic cancer, it is rarely the first test. In rare cases, biopsy isn’t necessary. During a biopsy, a medical professional removes a sample of suspicious pancreas cells and sends them to a laboratory to be examined for signs of pancreatic cancer.
Patients will be contacted after a biopsy by a Markey team member to review results. Further management will be recommended at that time.
When you are diagnosed with pancreas cancer, it is common to feel a sense of urgency around starting treatment. However, in most cases, there is time to do the needed research to ensure that your diagnosis is correct. That may include getting a second opinion.
Our team of experts works together to diagnose, treat and prevent pancreatic cancer, with a focus on individualized patient care.
Markey is among the best cancer centers in the nation, according to U.S. News & World Report, when it comes to advanced treatment options, survival rates and experienced providers. As the one and only NCI-designated cancer program in Kentucky, Markey can serve many patients each year with rare and common cancers, including pancreatic cancer.
Our specialized team is happy to work with your doctors and communicate to ensure confidence in your diagnosis.
Should I get a second opinion?
A second opinion can help to ensure that you will be getting the latest and most effective therapy for treating pancreatic cancer. The following are common reasons for seeking a second opinion after your initial diagnosis:
- You are having difficulty understanding your diagnosis.
- A dedicated team specialized in your cancer type may not be available in your area.
- There may be uncertainty around the stage of pancreas cancer.
- You may want to learn more about different treatment options, including clinical trials and advanced technologies only available at an advanced center like Markey.
- Your health insurance requires a second opinion before continuing toward treatment.
Questions to ask when getting a second opinion
After receiving a cancer diagnosis, you may have a lot on your mind. Here a few questions to keep in mind for your doctor when seeking a second opinion:
- Is there a chance that my medical problem could have a different diagnosis?
- Are there additional tests I should take before moving forward with treatment?
- Do you recommend any treatments at this time?
- What do you expect to happen if I wait or don't have the treatment?
- What are the side effects of treatment?
- How long are treatment recovery periods?
For more information, visit these trusted national sources for a variety of additional educational tools and resources: