Pancreatic Cancer Screening
Patients with Pancreatic Cysts
We're one of the first programs in the country to offer a clinic dedicated to the detection and treatment of pancreatic cysts.
These cysts, some of which can develop into pancreatic cancer, are treatable if diagnosed early. While the presence of a pancreatic cyst does not necessarily mean you'll develop pancreatic cancer, it can increase your risk. It's important to see a specialist to determine if you are at increased risk.
Screening for Pancreatic Cysts
Pancreatic cysts are usually asymptomatic, meaning you probably won't be able to tell if you have one. Most patients' cysts are found during X-rays of their abdomen for unrelated causes. If you do have symptoms related to a cyst, they may include nausea, vomiting and abdominal pain. Screening for cysts generally involves:
- MRI: An MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) of the abdomen may be performed. A radiologist will examine your MRI scan to look for cysts or signs of pancreatic cancer.
- Endoscopic ultrasound: Doctors insert an endoscope (a thin tube with a tiny camera) into the esophagus through the mouth. A transducer, or probe, then sends out sound waves that can tell if there's a cyst or tumor.
During your clinic visit with our healthcare provider, you'll:
- Get a detailed medical and family history and physical exam
- Consult with a dietitian
- Get test results and information about your scan
- Learn your follow-up treatment plan and recommendations.
Patients with a Family History of Pancreatic Cancer
Before your visit, we'll have you complete a detailed family history questionnaire. If your family history puts you at risk, we'll set up an appointment to review your risk and the benefits of screening.
Screening for Pancreatic Cancer
- Perform a comprehensive physical exam
- Obtain a detailed family and personal history
- Discuss behavioral risk factors like smoking, alcohol use and poor nutrition
- Perform genetic testing, if applicable
The screening may also include advanced tests to detect pancreatic cancer:
- Endoscopic ultrasound (EUS), the most accurate test available to detect pancreatic cancers, where doctors use a small, flexible tube to look for lesions on the pancreas
- High-resolution pancreatic MRI (magnetic resonance imaging)
If we find early-stage pancreatic cancer, patients can have surgery to remove the cancer. Patients without signs of cancer are scheduled for follow-up screenings in the pancreatic clinic.
Are you at increased risk for pancreatic cancer? Complete this questionnaire to determine your risk.