As well as helping to diagnose pancreatic cancer, a biopsy may give your doctors information about the grade and the type of pancreatic cancer. Different tests can be done on the cells that give more information and help the doctors plan the best treatment.
A biopsy for pancreatic cancer can be taken in different ways.
The doctor may take a biopsy during an:
These tests use a thin, flexible tube called an endoscope to look at the pancreas from inside the small bowel.
Through the skin
During surgery to look inside the tummy
The doctor will send the sample of cells to a laboratory to test for cancer. To help make an accurate diagnosis, they sometimes repeat the biopsy.
Below is a sample of the sources used in our pancreatic cancer information. If you would like more information about the sources we use, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
British Society of Gastroenterology. Guidelines for the management of patients with pancreatic cancer peri-ampullary and ampullary carcinomas. 2005.
European Society for Medial Oncology. Cancer of the pancreas: ESMO Clinical Practice Guidelines for diagnosis, treatment and follow-up. Annals of Oncology, 2015. 26 (Supplement 5): v56 to v68.
Fernandez-del Castillo. Clinical manifestations, diagnosis, and staging of exocrine pancreatic cancer. UpToDate online. Jan 2018.
Fernandez-del Castillo C, et al. Supportive care of the patient with locally advanced or metastatic exocrine pancreatic cancer. UpToDate online. Feb 2017.
Winter JM, et al. Cancer of the pancreas, DeVita Hellman and Rosenberg’s Cancer: Principles and Practice of Oncology (10th edition). Lippincott Williams and Wilkins. 2016.
This information has been written, revised and edited by Macmillan Cancer Support’s Cancer Information Development team. It has been reviewed by expert medical and health professionals and people living with cancer. It has been approved by Senior Medical Editor, Professor Tim Iveson, Consultant Medical Oncologist.
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