Pancreatic Cancer Diagnosis

At Allegheny Health Network Cancer Institute, we understand that pancreatic cancer moves rapidly. It’s important to diagnose it quickly and to stage it accurately to provide the most effective treatment and maximize your health.

Expert pancreatic cancer diagnosis at AHN

At the Cancer Institute, our collaborative team provides a fast and accurate diagnosis. You can expect the diagnostic process to be:

  • Minimally invasive: Our diagnostic tests use new technology that will keep you as comfortable as possible.
  • Sophisticated: We use tools to quickly and precisely diagnose and stage pancreatic cancer. Staging is when we determine how advanced the cancer is and if it has spread. This information is crucial for planning your treatment.
  • Compassionate: We understand that pancreatic cancer symptoms, like weight loss and jaundice, can be scary and that tests can be overwhelming. We explain each diagnostic test in detail and review it as a team. You can be assured that we’ll arrive at the right diagnosis and develop the best treatment plan for you. Throughout your care, our robust support services help you manage all aspects of the disease.

Diagnostic procedures for pancreatic cancer

At the Cancer Institute, we use a team approach to diagnosis. Specialists, including medical oncologists, surgeons, radiation oncologists, and gastroenterologists, carefully review your results to arrive at a diagnosis. We get the most precise diagnosis so we can tailor an effective, comprehensive treatment plan for you.

First, we ask you about your symptoms and conduct a physical exam. Then, we use diagnostic tests to detect cancer and to pinpoint its stage. Our sophisticated diagnostic tests include:

  • Pancreatic protocol CT (computed tomography) scan: A technician takes multiple, precise images of your pancreas to pinpoint the location of a tumor. 
  • Endoscopic ultrasound-guided biopsy: A gastroenterologist inserts a probe (endoscope) into the pancreas. We then use an ultrasound to obtain images of areas within the body, including your abdomen, other organs, and blood vessels. This information helps us evaluate your condition and plan treatment.
  • Biopsy: As part of an endoscopy procedure, the physician collects cells from the suspicious area. A specially trained pathologist analyzes the cells to determine if they are cancerous. 

Pancreatic cancer treatment

Once we have diagnosed pancreatic cancer and determined the stage, a team of pancreatic cancer experts immediately reviews your case to recommend a treatment plan. We offer a range of treatment options, including surgery, radiation, and clinical trials. Find out more about our approach to treating pancreatic cancer.

Contact us

Call the AHN Cancer Help Line anytime at (412) NURSE-4-U (412) 687-7348 to schedule a cancer-related appointment or to just talk with our nurses about diagnoses, treatments, and side effects.