NCCN Guidelines for Patients
Pancreatic Cancer, Version 1.2014
Tests for pancreatic cancer
of bilirubin in the body.
See Figure 4.
Bilirubin is a
yellow-brown substance in bile—a fluid made by the
liver to help digest food. Bile flows out of the liver
through bile ducts. A tumor in the pancreas can cause
jaundice by blocking a bile duct.
Imaging tests allow your doctors to see inside your
body. The images may show if there is a tumor in
your pancreas as well as the tumor size and location.
Imaging tests are often easy to undergo. Before the
test, you may be asked to stop eating or drinking for
several hours. You also should remove any metal
objects that are on your body.
There is more than one type of imaging test for
pancreatic cancer. Pictures (images) can be made
with scanning machines or scoping tools.
Scans / Imaging scans
Scanning machines are large and have a tunnel in
the middle. During the test, you will need to lie on a
table that moves slowly through the tunnel. Pillows or
straps may be used to keep you still during the test.
You will be alone, but a technician will operate the
machine in a nearby room. He or she will be able to
see, hear, and speak with you at all times.
As the machine takes pictures, you may hear buzzing,
clicking, or whirring sounds. Earplugs are sometimes
worn to block these sounds. A computer combines all
pictures into one detailed picture. An imaging scan
can take about 30 to 60 minutes to complete.
Often, there are no side effects. If radiation is used,
the amount is small. You will likely be able to resume
your activities right away unless you were given a
sedative. The test results may not be ready for a few
days since a radiologist needs to see the pictures.
There is more than one type of imaging scan that may
be used for pancreatic cancer. The types of imaging
scans recommended for pancreatic cancer are
Cholangitis Jaundice by Bobjgalindo available at http://
jpg under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0
Figure 4. Jaundice of the eyes