What Are The Stages Of Pancreatic Cancer? Know More About The Symptoms & Treatment

Pancreatic cancer stages-more about test for pancreatic cancer & treatments
Pancreatic cancer

The cells in your body have certain jobs to do. Normal cells generally divide in an orderly way. They die when they are damaged, and then new cells take the old cell place. Cancer occurs when the cells start growing out of control. This causes problems in any part of your body where cancer has started. Cancer is said to be a group of more than 100 different diseases. Some types of cancer usually do not form a tumor and they are leukemias, most types of lymphoma, and myeloma.

According to the American Cancer Society (ACS), pancreatic cancer makes up to 3 percent of cancer diagnoses in the United States and 7 percent of cancer deaths. Pancreatic cancer occurs in the tissues of the pancreas first, which is a vital endocrine organ located behind your stomach. The pancreas plays an essential role in digestion. Your body needs to digest fats, proteins, and carbohydrates. Pancreatic cancer may be difficult to detect at an early stage and it is often diagnosed in more advanced stages of the disease.

The article below covers all the relevant topics of pancreatic cancer including the symptoms of pancreatic cancer, causes of pancreatic cancer, its treatments, pancreatic cancer stages, how to get tested, and its prevention.

  1. Pancreatic cancer stages
  2. Symptoms of pancreatic cancer
  3. Types of pancreatic cancer
  4. Pancreatic cancer causes
  5. Is pancreatic cancer curable?
  6. What is the treatment for pancreatic cancer?
  7. What happens if pancreatic cancer is left untreated?
  8. Prevention
  9. How to get tested?
  10. Provider’s location

Pancreatic cancer stages

Once pancreatic cancer is detected, your physician will likely perform additional tests to understand the cancer stage or where cancer has spread. Imaging tests, such as a PET scan is taken to help your physician identify the presence of cancerous growths in the pancreas. Some use blood tests also.

With these tests, your physician will establish the cancer’s stage. Staging helps explain how advanced cancer has spread or the tumor has grown. It also helps your physician determine the treatment options.

Based on the test results, your physician will assign a stage:

  • Stage 1: In the early stage, tumors exist in the pancreas only
  • Stage 2: At this point, tumors have spread to nearby abdominal tissues and/or lymph nodes
  • Stage 3: Cancer has spread to major blood vessels and lymph nodes during this stage.
  • Stage 4: tumors have spread to the other organs, such as the liver in this stage.

Symptoms of pancreatic cancer

Typically there aren’t any early signs and symptoms of pancreatic cancer. This disease often doesn’t show symptoms until it reaches the advanced or the last stages of the disease. Even after cancer has grown, some of the common symptoms will be subtle. You may experience the below-mentioned symptoms if you are at Stage 2:

  • Jaundice
  • Changes in urine color
  • Pain in the upper abdomen
  • Weight loss
  • Loss of appetite
  • Fatigue

If you have symptoms of stage 3, you may experience the following:

  • Pain in the back
  • Pain in the upper abdomen
  • A loss of appetite
  • Weight loss
  • Fatigue
  • Depression

Symptoms you may experience at this advanced stage or stage 4 include:

  • Pain in the upper abdomen
  • Pain in the back
  • Fatigue
  • Jaundice (yellowing of the skin)
  • A loss of appetite
  • Weight loss
  • Depression

Mostly, pancreatic cancer that spreads worsens preexisting symptoms. So we highly recommend individuals to get tested if you experience any of the above-mentioned symptoms.

Stages of Pancreatic cancer-Know more about pancreatic cancer stage 4
Pancreatic cancer symptoms

Types of pancreatic cancer

Pancreatic cancers are of two types. And they include:

(i)Pancreatic adenocarcinoma

About 95 percent of diseased people are pancreatic adenocarcinomas. This type of pancreatic cancer develops within the exocrine cells which are present in the pancreas. The majority of cells in the pancreas are exocrine cells, which make up pancreatic enzymes or the pancreatic ducts.

(ii)Pancreatic neuroendocrine tumors (NETs)

This is a less common type of pancreatic cancer that develops in the endocrine cells. These cells are responsible for making hormones, which includes the one that helps in managing blood sugar.

Pancreatic cancer causes

Cause of the pancreatic cancer is still unknown.  Pancreatic cancer starts when abnormal cells begin to grow within the pancreas and form tumors within the pancreas.

Normally, healthy cells grow and die in moderate numbers. But in the case of cancer, an increased amount of abnormal cell production, and eventually these cells take over the healthy cells.

Your physician and the researchers don’t know what causes the changes in the cells, but they do know some common factors that may increase a person’s risk for developing Pancreatic cancer.

The two most common risk factors of cancer are inherited gene mutations and acquired gene mutations. Genes may control the way cells act, so changes to those genes may lead to cancer.

Is pancreatic cancer curable?

Pancreatic cancer is curable, but if it’s caught at an early stage. Two types of surgery, a whipple procedure or a pancreatectomy removes a portion or the entire pancreas. This helps to eliminate the initial cancer tumor in the pancreas.

Unfortunately, the majority of the pancreatic cancers are not found and diagnosed until cancer reaches the advanced stage and spread beyond the original site.

Surgery cannot be performed in the late stages of pancreatic cancer. If cancer has spread to the other parts of the body, removing the tumor or pancreas will not cure it. Other treatments can be considered.

What is the treatment for pancreatic cancer?

The treatment for pancreatic cancer depends upon the stage of cancer. Treatment can either: kill cancerous cells or prevent the spread of the disease.

The most common complications during pancreatic cancer treatment are weight loss, bowel obstruction, abdominal pain, and liver failure.


Surgery helps to treat pancreatic cancer which comes down to two things: the area of cancer and the stage of cancer. Surgery helps to remove either all or some portions of the pancreas. Surgery may not be suitable for those people who have advanced-stage pancreatic cancer.

(ii)Radiation therapy

Other treatment options should be considered once cancer spreads outside of the pancreas. Radiation therapy is performed by your physician who uses X-rays and other high-energy beams to kill the cancer cells within.


Your doctor will combine other treatments with chemotherapy, which uses cancer-killing drugs to help to prevent the future growth of cancer cells.

(iv)Targeted therapy

Pancreatic cancer treatment uses drugs or other measures to specifically target cancer cells alone and helps to destroy them. These drugs are designed not to harm any healthy or normal cells.

What happens if pancreatic cancer is left untreated?

If pancreatic cancer is left untreated it may lead to a few complications as follows:

  • Weight loss- Weight loss will happen as cancer consumes the body’s energy. Nausea and vomiting caused by cancer treatments and a tumor that is pressing on your stomach may make it difficult to eat. Your body may have difficulty processing nutrients from food as the pancreas isn’t making enough digestive juices.
  • Jaundice- This type of cancer blocks the liver’s bile duct that causes jaundice. Signs of jaundice include yellow skin and eyes, dark-colored urine, and pale-colored stools. Jaundice usually occurs without any abdominal pain.
  • Pain- A growing tumor will press on the nerves in your abdomen and causes pain that can become severe. Pain medications will help you feel more comfortable. The help of the treatments, such as radiation and chemotherapy, might slow down the tumor growth and provide some pain relief.
  • Bowel obstruction- Pancreatic cancer that grows into the first part of the small intestine will block the flow of digested food from your stomach into your small and large intestines.


Some lifestyle changes and overall health approached may reduce the risk of pancreatic cancer. And that includes:

  • Stop smoking. Talk to your doctor about strategies to help you stop smoking, including support groups, medications, and nicotine replacement therapy for you. If you don’t smoke, then don’t start.
  • Maintain a healthy weight. If you are at a healthy weight, work on maintaining it. If you need to lose weight, then aim for a slow weight loss like 1 to 2 pounds a week.
  • Choose a healthy diet. A diet full of fruits and vegetables and whole grains will help to reduce your risk of cancer.

How to get tested?

CEA blood test is done to measure the levels of CEA in the blood. Your physician will order a CEA test for the following reasons. Your physician will prescribe for a CEA blood test to detect the tumor cells. This CEA test is also used to diagnose breast cancer, Gastric, Ovary, and Lung cancer.

The following table shows the pancreatic cancer testing (CEA test) cost at one of our partner laboratories (CLIA – Certified) network located across the U.S.

Name of our Partner Labs

Book Online

Personal Testing Lab

  • Reports – 2 to 5 days
  • The entire U.S. except for New York, New Jersey & Rhode Island
  • Required to visit the lab

Offer Price


Book Now

Also, consider meeting with a genetic counselor if you have a family history of pancreatic cancer or any other cancer. They can help you by reviewing your family health history with you and determine whether you might go through a genetic test to understand your risk of pancreatic cancer or even any other cancers.

Providers locations:

Pancreatic cancer tests can be done in any of the following states at the provider’s location. To know the colon test cost at these locations, refer to the above table.

  • Alabama
  • Arizona
  • Arkansas
  • California
  • Colorado
  • Connecticut
  • Delaware
  • Florida
  • Hawaii
  • Georgia
  • Idaho
  • Illinois
  • Indiana
  • Iowa
  • Kansas
  • Kentucky
  • Louisiana
  • Maine
  • Michigan
  • Minnesota
  • Mississippi
  • Missouri
  • Montana
  • Nebraska
  • Nevada
  • New Hampshire
  • New Mexico
  • North Carolina
  • North Dakota
  • Oklahoma
  • Oregon
  • Pennsylvania
  • Puerto Rico
  • South Carolina
  • South Dakota
  • Tennessee
  • Texas
  • Utah
  • Vermont
  • Virginia
  • Washington
  • West Virginia
  • Wisconsin
  • Wyoming

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