Tests You May Need to Evaluate Pancreatic Cancer

Tests You May Need to Evaluate Pancreatic Cancer

Your doctor probably took a biopsy to determine that you had cancer. He or she did this by taking a sample of cells or fluid from an area that looked suspicious in your pancreas. Your doctor also needs to know the cancer’s stage, which shows how much and where the cancer has spread. This helps the doctor suggest the best treatment for you. Your doctor may have learned the stage of your cancer during diagnostic tests, such as a computed tomography (CT) scan or an ultrasound. Your doctor may now ask for more tests.

One test you may need is a positron-emission tomography (PET) scan. This creates an image that shows cells throughout your body. This test checks for cancer that has spread, called metastatic cancer.

For a PET scan, you either swallow or get injected with a biochemical. It may be glucose that carries a mildly radioactive substance. It may take an hour or so for the glucose to go throughout your body to reach the cancer cells. Then, you’ll lie still on a table that slides into the PET scanner. The scanner rotates around you, taking pictures of where your body is using glucose. Tumors are more active and use more glucose than healthy cells. A PET scan is painless. The resulting picture is not very detailed, but it can show the whole body. The PET scan image is often combined with a CT image to provide better detail.

Related Items

The third-party content provided in the Health Library of phoebeputney.com is for informational purposes only and is not designed to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease, or replace the professional medical advice you receive from your physician. If you or your child has or suspect you may have a health problem, please consult your primary care physician. If you or your child may have a medical emergency, call your doctor or 911 or other emergency health care provider immediately in the United States or the appropriate health agency of your country. For more information regarding site usage, please visit: Privacy Information, Terms of Use or Disclaimer.