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Stages of cancer of the pancreas

Stent (marked by red arrows) opens up the hepato-biliary tree after obstruction by cancer
Stent (marked by red arrows) opens up the hepato-biliary tree after obstruction by cancer

The 'stage' of any cancer is a description of its size, local spread and distant spread. Defining the stage is crucial in deciding the most appropriate treatment and whether it is possible to aim to cure the disease. Scans are the most important method of working out the stage of the disease.

 

Oncologist will use internationally recognised systems of staging, but the principles are to decide the following:

 

The main concern whether the growth is confined to the pancreas or whether it has spread outside the gland and thereby is definitely incurable.

 

Where the disease is localised surgical removal may be curative in a minority of patients.

 

Where the disease is has spread to other organs, palliative chemotherapy may be useful.

 

Where the disease is locally infiltrative but non-metastatic, chemo-radiotherapy is considered.

 

 

 


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