Just diagnosed with pancreatic cancer

This information is for anyone recently diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. Family and friends may also find it useful.

Being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer can feel overwhelming.

You have probably got lots of questions and worries, and it can be hard to take everything in. This section gives you key information about pancreatic cancer and your diagnosis.

Get support

You and your family can get support from our specialist nurses on our free Support Line. You can contact them about anything – managing symptoms, questions about your diagnosis, treatment options or just to talk about how you’re really feeling.

Specialist nurse Support Line
Specialist nurse Dianne

What can I do?

  • Ask your doctor or nurse any questions you have. We have questions throughout our information that you might find helpful.
  • Contact our specialist nurses on our Support Line with any questions about your diagnosis.
  • Find out as much as you want to know – we have lots more information here about pancreatic cancer.
  • Talk to family and friends about how you are feeling – sometimes just talking can help you make sense of things.
  • Read more about the support we can provide.
  • Read more about dealing with the emotional impact of being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer

What is pancreatic cancer?

Find out more about the pancreas and pancreatic cancer.

What is pancreatic cancer?
Man at medical appointment

You may have been told whether or not you can have surgery to remove the cancer.

Or you might have been told the stage of your cancer – this explains how big the cancer is and if it has spread.

If you can have surgery to remove the cancer

If you’ve been diagnosed with early or localised pancreatic cancer you may be able to have surgery to remove the cancer.

If you can have surgery (early pancreatic cancer)
Couple at appointment

If you can’t have surgery

If the cancer has spread outside your pancreas surgery may not be possible. This is called inoperable cancer. You may have been diagnosed with locally advanced or advanced pancreatic cancer.

If you can’t have surgery (inoperable cancer)
Couple at medical appointment

Stage 1 pancreatic cancer

The cancer is contained inside your pancreas. This is early, localised pancreatic cancer. This is also called operable or resectable cancer because surgery may be possible.

Stage 1 pancreatic cancer
Woman at medical appointment

Stage 2 pancreatic cancer

The cancer has started to grow larger and into the organs near your pancreas. You might be able to have surgery to remove the cancer, but this depends on how far it’s spread.

Stage 2 pancreatic cancer
Patient Having Consultation With Doctor

Stage 3 pancreatic cancer

The cancer has spread further outside your pancreas. This is usually locally advanced cancer. But it may occasionally be borderline resectable cancer, which means that the cancer that has grown very close to the major blood vessels near the pancreas.

Stage 3 pancreatic cancer

Stage 4 pancreatic cancer

The cancer has spread to other parts of your body. This is advanced or metastatic cancer.

Stage 4 pancreatic cancer
Doctor talking to male patient

Order our newly diagnosed pack

Order our newly diagnosed pack to help you understand your diagnosis and treatment options.

Order the pack

Managing symptoms

Pancreatic cancer can cause symptoms such as problems with your diet and digestion, pain and fatigue. There are ways to manage most symptoms.

Managing symptoms
A woman has an appointment with her doctor in a GP office

Daily life with pancreatic cancer

Getting the right support can help you cope with pancreatic cancer, and continue with your daily life as much as possible.

Daily life with pancreatic cancer
Couple going for a walk

Read other people's stories

You may find it helpful to read about other people’s experiences of being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.

Real life stories section
Two men going for a walk