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NCCN Guidelines for Patients



Pancreatic Cancer, Version 1.2017


Treatment planning Treatment team | Medical history and physical exam

Treatment planning starts with testing.

This section describes the tests that are

used to confirm (diagnose) pancreatic

cancer and plan treatment. This

information can help you know what to

expect during testing.

Treatment team

Treating pancreatic cancer takes a team approach.

NCCN recommends that treatment decisions involve

a multidisciplinary team. This includes doctors and

other professionals who are experts in different areas

of health care.



A medical oncologist is a doctor who’s an

expert in treating cancer with drugs.



A surgeon is an expert in operations to remove

or repair a part of the body.



A radiation oncologist is an expert at treating

cancer with radiation.



A pathologist is an expert in testing cells and

tissue to find disease.



A gastroenterologist is an expert in diseases

of the digestive system (where food is broken

down for the body to use).

Besides doctors, you may receive care from nurses,

social workers, a registered dietitian, and other

health experts. Ask to have the names and contact

information of your health care providers included in

the treatment plan.

Your treatment team will come together and decide

on a treatment plan. This treatment plan will be

based on the extent of cancer in your body and your

other health needs, as well as your personal choices.

A treatment plan is a written course of action that

covers every stage of the treatment process.

Once pancreatic cancer is confirmed, your doctors

will need to know the stage of the cancer. The cancer

stage is a rating by your doctors of how far the

cancer has grown and spread. The cancer stage is

based on the results of certain tests. It is used to plan

which treatments are best for you.

Medical history and physical


Two basic tools of diagnosis are when your doctor

takes your medical history and does an exam of

your body. Your doctor will ask about your medical

history, which should include everything that has ever

happened to you, related to your health.

Your doctor will ask you about:



Health events in your life including surgeries,

accidents, and past illnesses



Recent sickness



Medications you are taking now (It is helpful

to keep a list of your meds. Include any

supplements and over-the-counter medicine

you take.)



Family history of disease such as cancer, heart

disease, or diabetes



Tobacco, alcohol, or drug use