How is stage 4 pancreatic cancer diagnosed?

Your doctor may use a variety of tests to diagnose pancreatic cancer. An ultrasound, which uses sound waves to "see" your pancreas, may be used to allow your doctor to examine your pancreas. An endoscopic ultrasound, in which the ultrasound sensor is inserted into your stomach through a tube that passes down your throat, can also be used. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) or a computerized tomography scan (or CT scan), are other ways doctors can see images of your pancreas. Endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography and percutaneous transhepatic cholangiography are two types of tests that use dye to make parts of the pancreas more visible when X-rayed.

In addition to these tests, a biopsy, in which a small piece of pancreatic tissue is removed for laboratory examination, may be done to confirm the diagnosis. Staging the cancer (deciding if your cancer is stage 4 or another stage) often takes place at the same time as diagnosis.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.