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NCCN Guidelines for Patients



Pancreatic Cancer, Version 1.2017

Illustration Copyright © 2016 Nucleus Medical Media, All rights reserved.


Treatment planning

Imaging tests

CT (computed tomography) scan

A CT scan is often the first test given for pancreatic

cancer. A CT scan takes many pictures of a body part

from different angles using x-rays.

See Figure 4.

A special type of CT scan, called a pancreatic proto-

col CT scan, is recommended for pancreatic cancer.

A protocol is a detailed plan of a medical study, treat-

ment, or procedure. A pancreatic protocol CT is done

in a certain way so that all of the pictures focus on

the pancreas and nearby area. This special CT scan

allows doctors to clearly see the pancreas, nearby

blood vessels, and very small tumors.

Before the CT scan, you may be given a contrast dye

to make the pictures clearer. The dye will be injected

into your vein. It may cause you to feel flushed or get

hives. Rarely, serious allergic reactions occur. Tell

your doctor if you have had bad reactions before.

Figure 4

CT scan machine

A CT machine is large and has a

tunnel in the middle. During the

test, you will lie on a table that

moves slowly through the tunnel.