Stage 3 pancreatic cancer

Stage 3 pancreatic cancer is usually locally advanced cancer but it may occasionally be borderline resectable cancer.

Stages of pancreatic cancer


You may be told the stage of cancer. This describes the size of the cancer, if it has spread outside the pancreas and how far.

What is stage 3 pancreatic cancer?

Stage 3 cancer means that the cancer has spread outside the pancreas. It may have spread to the large blood vessels near the pancreas, or to a number of lymph nodes.

This is usually locally advanced cancer but it may occasionally be borderline resectable cancer.

Diagram showing stage 3 pancreatic cancer

Diagram showing stage 3 pancreatic cancer

 

Possible treatments

Borderline resectable cancer is cancer that has grown very close to the major blood vessels near the pancreas. You may be able to have surgery to remove the cancer, but it depends which blood vessels are affected. You may have chemotherapy and possibly radiotherapy to try to shrink the cancer, before your doctors consider surgery.

Read more about cancer that is close to major blood vessels.

If you have locally advanced cancer, it won’t usually be possible to remove the cancer with surgery. You may have chemotherapy, sometimes with radiotherapy. This is to try to shrink the cancer, slow down its growth, and control your symptoms. For a small number of people, this treatment may shrink the cancer enough to make surgery to remove the cancer possible.

Read more about locally advanced pancreatic cancer.

Get support

If you have any questions about your diagnosis or treatment options, speak to your doctor or nurse.

You can also speak to our specialist nurses on our free Support Line.

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Specialist nurse Dianne

Order our booklet for people just diagnosed

If you have just been diagnosed with locally advanced or advanced cancer, order our booklet: Pancreatic cancer if you can’t have surgery (inoperable cancer). A guide if you have just been diagnosed

Order the booklet

Published September 2020

To be reviewed September 2022