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Pancreatic cancer stages help your doctor recommend treatment options based on the extent of cancer in the body. Imaging tests, endoscopies, and biopsies are used to stage pancreatic cancer. Rather than using stage 0 to stage 4 (IV) to describe staging, doctors use a system that describes if the cancer has spread and whether surgery is a treatment option.
At Dignity Health Central California, our cancer care teams understand how scary a cancer diagnosis is for you and your family. That’s why we make your experience as easy as possible by delivering advanced cancer treatment with humankindness, close to home. Regardless of your pancreatic cancer stage in Central California, you can Find a Doctor who will provide personalized care and treatment.
Resectable pancreatic cancers can be removed with surgery because they have not spread outside the pancreas or invaded nearby blood vessels. This stage of pancreatic cancer accounts for about 15 percent of cases.
Dignity Health Central California doctors use CT scans and other imaging tests to determine if pancreatic cancer is resectable. However, the final determination must be made in the operating room. If the cancer turns out to be unresectable, the surgery may be stopped to prevent complications.
At diagnosis, borderline resectable pancreatic cancers are very hard or impossible to remove with surgery. However, radiation therapy and chemotherapy may be able to shrink the cancer enough to make surgery an option.
At this stage, pancreatic cancer has started to spread, but has not reached distant organs or tissues. Surgery can be used to help relieve symptoms, but it cannot remove all of the cancer or cure it. A little more than a third of pancreatic cancers are locally advanced at the time of diagnosis.
Unresectable metastatic pancreatic cancer has spread beyond the pancreas and into distant organs. Surgery can treat symptoms, but cannot cure or completely remove the cancer. About half of people with pancreatic cancer have unresectable metastatic tumors at diagnosis.
Knowing the stages of pancreatic cancer can help you better understand your treatment options. If treatment is offered as palliative care, talk to your doctor about your goals and expectations for symptom relief and quality of life. Your complete well-being is always our priority.
Dignity Health Central California offers compassionate care for all pancreatic cancer stages in Bakersfield, Merced, San Andreas, and Stockton, CA.