Read about common tests (investigations) used to find out if your symptoms may be pancreatic cancer.

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Understanding Pancreatic Cancer booklet 2022
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Download Section Two of our pancreatic cancer booklet: Diagnosing pancreatic cancer

  • If your GP or whānau doctor is concerned that your symptoms may be signs of pancreatic cancer, they will recommend further tests.
  • These tests aim to find out the type of pancreatic cancer you have and if the cancer has spread to other parts of your body. The results of any tests you have will help your treatment team to decide on the best treatment options for you.
  • Common tests include:
    • blood tests
    • imaging tests (scans)
    • ultrasound and endoscopic ultrasound (EUS)
    • endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP)
    • biopsy
    • laparoscopy.

  • Mehemea kei te māharahara tō GP, tō rata rānei, he tohu pea o tohumate o te matepukupuku repetaiaki huka, ka taunaki rātou kia whāia anō he whakamātautau ake.
  • Ko te whāinga o ēnei whakamātautau, ko te rapu ko tēwhea matepukupuku repetaiaki huka kai te whai koe, me te tiro mehemea kua hōrapa ki wāhi kē o te tinana. Ka āwhina ngā hua o ngā whakamātautau ka whai koe i tō rōpū whakamaimoa ki te whakatau ko tēwhea te kōwhiringa maimoa pai mōu.
  • Ko ngā whakamātautau auau ka whāia, ko ēnei:
    • whakamātautau toto
    • whakamātautau ata (ngā mātāwai)
    • orotarapī me te karu tirowhakaroto orotarapī
    • unuhanga
    • unuhanga
    • pūtirohanga puku.
Section 2 Diagnosing pc

Diagnosing pancreatic cancer

If you have noticed any of the symptoms of pancreatic cancer, you will usually see your GP or whānau doctor first.

They will talk to you about your symptoms, examine your abdomen, and ask you about your family history of cancer and any risk factors you may have.

If your GP or whānau doctor is concerned that your symptoms may be signs of pancreatic cancer, they will recommend further tests.

Common tests (investigations) for pancreatic cancer

These tests aim to find out the type of pancreatic cancer you have and if the cancer has spread to other parts of your body. 

You may have some of the following tests: 

  • Blood tests to check your general health and how well your body is working including liver function tests and a test for pancreatic cancer markers in the blood
  • CT, MRI and PET-CT scans to build a detailed picture of the inside of the body, looking for the size, location and possible spread of any cancer
  • Ultrasound and endoscopic ultrasound (EUS) to show the size and position of a cancer and the surrounding lymph nodes
  • ERCP to diagnose and treat problems in the liver, gallbladder, bile duct, and pancreas
  • Biopsy to remove small samples of tissue from your pancreas 
  • Laparoscopy to check if the cancer has spread outside the pancreas to other parts of the body by sending samples to the laboratory to check for cancer cells

The results of any tests you have will help your treatment team decide what the best treatment options are for you.

Last updated: September 22, 2022