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Explaining the NICE guidelines for diagnosing and managing pancreatic cancer

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) have produced guidelines for health professionals diagnosing and caring for people with pancreatic cancer. These guidelines are for the most common type of pancreatic cancer - pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma. Health professionals don’t have to follow these guidelines, but they must take them into account when making decisions about pancreatic cancer care. They should also take your needs and wishes into account.

The NICE guidelines cover England, Wales and Northern Ireland and are based on the best evidence available. There are no guidelines for pancreatic cancer in Scotland at the moment.

What do the guidelines cover?

The guidelines cover the diagnosis of pancreatic cancer – including people who may be at higher risk. They also cover the treatment of pancreatic cancer and recommendations for managing symptoms. Your treatment and care will be individual to you, so not every recommendation will be relevant to your needs. Use the links below to find recommendations that are relevant to you.

Download our NICE guidelines fact sheet below, or order hard copies of the guidelines on our publications order form.

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How can the guidelines help me?

You can use these guidelines to help you understand the care you should have and make decisions about your treatment. You can also use them to speak to your doctors if you feel you are not getting the right care. 

Throughout these guidelines we link to our other information, which explains some of the tests and treatments mentioned in the guidelines. We suggest you read these guidelines along with our other information to make sure you have all the information you need. If you have any questions, speak to your doctor or nurse. You can also speak to our specialist nurses on our Support Line.

Read each section of the NICE guidelines for pancreatic cancer:

  1. Diagnosis
  2. Specialist pancreatic multidisciplinary teams
  3. Working out how far the cancer has spread (staging)
  4. Emotional (psychological) support
  5. Managing pain
  6. Managing diet and nutrition
  7. Relieving a blocked bile duct or duodenum
  8. Managing resectable (operable) and borderline resectable pancreatic cancer
  9. Managing pancreatic cancer that can’t be removed with surgery (inoperable or unresectable cancer)

Further information

If you have any questions about these guidelines and your care and treatment, speak to your doctor or nurse. You can also speak to our specialist nurses on our Support Line.

If you have any concerns about your care, speak to your doctor or nurse. Read more about what to do if you have concerns about your care.

You can also read the guidelines for health professionals on the NICE website.

Individual documents and selected extracts

© NICE (2018) Pancreatic cancer in adults: diagnosis and management Available from www.nice.org.uk/guidance/ng85 All rights reserved. Subject to Notice of rights

NICE guidance is prepared for the National Health Service in England. All NICE guidance is subject to regular review and may be updated or withdrawn. NICE accepts no responsibility for the use of its content in this product/publication.

Information Standard  Bma Patient Information Awards

Published: August 2018

Review date: August 2020

Explaining the NICE guideline for diagnosing and managing pancreatic cancer

This information supports the recommendations in the NICE guideline on pancreatic cancer in adults.

National Institute for Health and Care Excellence

October 2018