Diagnosis of Pancreatic Cancer

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When pancreatic cancer is suspected, there are basic tools used to diagnose it:

  • Physical examination.
  • Patient's medical history.
  • Ultrasound of the abdomen.
  • Chest and abdominal CT is the test of choice to diagnose and evaluate how extensive the tumour is in pancreatic cancer. It is based on evaluating the degree of vascular invasion (venous and arterial) and the presence or absence of metastatic disease. 15%-20% of cases are resectable (no vascular infiltration). 5% are borderline resectable (with focal vascular infiltration), and 10% are locally advanced (greater vascular infiltration). 65%-70% of cases are metastatic.
  • Endoscopic ultrasound-guided fine-needle aspiration or endoscopic ultrasound with biopsy should be performed to obtain a cytohistological diagnosis of adenocarcinoma. Cytohistological diagnosis can also be obtained in metastases in metastatic patients.

Whenever a diagnosis of pancreatic cancer is established and before starting any treatment, it is necessary to determine liver and renal function, blood count, nutritional parameters and the tumour marker (CA 19-9) by means of a blood test.

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