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.
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
Medications you are taking now (It is helpful
to keep a list of your meds. Include any
supplements and over-the-counter medicine
Family history of disease such as cancer, heart
disease, or diabetes
Tobacco, alcohol, or drug use