Home  >  Health Encyclopedia  >  Cancer Care

Health Encyclopedia

 

Cancer Care



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
Content Type 134
  Islet Cell Carcinoma
Content Type 167
  CA 19-9
Cancer Source
  Anatomy of the Pancreas
  Statistics About Pancreatic Cancer
  Am I At Risk for Pancreatic Cancer?
  What Can I Do if I’m At Risk for Pancreatic Cancer?
  What Are the Symptoms of Pancreatic Cancer?
  What Tests Help My Doctor Find Pancreatic Cancer?
  Understanding Your Stage of Pancreatic Cancer
  Types of Surgery for Pancreatic Cancer
  What Happens During Chemotherapy for Pancreatic Cancer
  Tell Your Healthcare Team How You Feel During Treatment for Pancreatic Cancer
  Do What You Can to Ease Side Effects of Treatment for Pancreatic Cancer
  What to Know About Radiation Treatment for Pancreatic Cancer
  What to Know About Combination Therapy for Pancreatic Cancer
  How Your Doctor Takes a Biopsy to Diagnose Pancreatic Cancer
  I’ve Just Been Told I Have Pancreatic Cancer
  How Pancreatic Cancer Spreads
  Can I Survive Pancreatic Cancer? What Is My Prognosis?
  Overview of Your Treatment Choices for Pancreatic Cancer
  What to Expect After Chemotherapy for Pancreatic Cancer
  Questions to Ask About Treatment for Pancreatic Cancer
  Recovering From Surgery for Pancreatic Cancer
  Goal of Radiation Therapy for Pancreatic Cancer
  What Happens During External Beam Radiation Treatment for Pancreatic Cancer
Cancer FAQs
  Frequently Asked Questions About Pancreatic Cancer
NCI Patient Summary
  Pancreatic Cancer Treatment (PDQ®)
Adult Diseases and Conditions
  Pancreatic Cancer