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How is pancreatic cancer diagnosed?

This section is for anyone having tests for pancreatic cancer. It explains the different tests for pancreatic cancer, what they involve, and what your test results mean. Speak to your GP, consultant or specialist nurse if you have any questions. You can also speak to our specialist nurses on our free Support Line.

Pancreatic cancer can be difficult to diagnose. This is because it doesn’t usually cause many specific symptoms in the early stages, and symptoms can be quite vague. They can also be caused by more common conditions, such as pancreatitis (inflammation of the pancreas), gastritis (inflammation of the stomach lining) or gallstones.

If you have any of the symptoms of pancreatic cancer, it’s important that you go to your GP. Doctors will need to rule out all the possible causes for your symptoms. This means that you will need different tests, and it can take some time to diagnose pancreatic cancer.

Visiting your GP

Tips to help you talk to your GP

Tests for pancreatic cancer

What do my test results mean?

Published July 2016

Review date July 2018

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