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.

Find out about our specialist nurses
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 in the section for people recently diagnosed with 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.
  • As well as coming to terms with your diagnosis, you might be worrying about coronavirus and what this means for your care. We have information about how coronavirus may affect people with pancreatic cancer.

What is pancreatic cancer?

Find out more about the pancreas and pancreatic cancer.

Click here to find out more
Man at medical appointment

Whether you can have surgery and the stage of your cancer

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

Or your doctor may tell you the stage of your cancer – this explains how big the cancer is and if it has spread. Your doctor will explain what this means and how it affects your treatment options. Some doctors may focus on whether you can have surgery and don’t tell you the stage. If you haven’t been told the stage but would like to know this, ask your doctor.

Your test results should be sent to your GP, and you may be sent a copy of the letter. This might include the stage of your cancer. If there’s anything in the letter that’s not clear, ask your GP or medical team to explain it. Our specialist nurses can also help explain things.

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.

Read more about 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.

Read more about inoperable pancreatic 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.

Read about stage 1 pancreatic cancer
Woman at medical appointment

Stage 2 pancreatic cancer

The cancer may have grown larger, and may have spread to a small number of lymph nodes near the pancreas. You might be able to have surgery to remove the cancer, but this depends on how far it’s spread.

Find out about 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.

Read more about stage 3 pancreatic cancer
Solicitor and client

Stage 4 pancreatic cancer

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

Read about stage 4 pancreatic cancer
Doctor talking to male patient

Order our newly diagnosed pack

Our newly diagnosed pack has lots of information to help you understand your diagnosis and treatment options.

We have a pack for you if you can have surgery or a pack if surgery isn’t an option.

Managing symptoms

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

Find out more about 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.

Read about 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.

Read other people's stories
Two men going for a walk