Fortunately, the different stages for pancreatic cancer are easily understandable. In practice, the choice of treatment recommended by the doctor is based on surgical findings, imaging studies and the overall health well being of the individual.

Various stages for pancreatic cancer

In treatment of cancer, the term stage is used to refer to the extent at which the cancer has spread. Doctors use these stages as a guide in deciding on the treatment to use and classification of the patients for various clinical trials and include:

  • Stage 0- There is no spread in this stage and the cancer is limited just to one layer of pancreas cells. This cancer isn’t visit even on imaging tests.
  • Local growth: stage 1 – here, the cancer is limited to just the pancreas but has less than 2 cm or more than 2 cm.
  • Local spread: state II – the cancer has spread over the pancreas to the nearby lymph nodes
  • Wider spread: stage III- Tumor has already expanded to nerves or major blood vessels nearby but hasn’t metastasized yet
  • Confirmed spread: stage IV- the cancer has now spread to other distant organs and it is now in its most advanced stage.

It can be quite tricky for the doctors to determine the stage of pancreatic cancer. While imaging tests such as ultrasound and CT scans do actually provide the users with some info, it is however tricky to ascertain the extent of spread without conducting a surgical operation. Considering surgery comes with its share of risks, the doctor will first of all determine if it is possible or not to remove the cancerous cells by surgery- resectable and this results in this kind of description:

Resectable pancreatic cancer: according to imaging tests obtained, the cancer has not spread and if it has, it isn’t by far. The surgeon has a great feeling that the cancer might be removable. When first diagnosed, about 10 percent of pancreatic cancer cases are resectable.

Unresectable- locally advanced: this denotes a case where pancreatic cancer has spread into the major blood vessels according to imaging tests and surgery can’t be used to remove the tumor successfully.

Alternative treatments for pancreatic cancer to surgery

Where surgery isn’t an alternative treatment for pancreatic cancer, other solutions should be considered at least to extend survival if not to provide a complete cure. In such a case, radiation or chemotherapy and sometimes both of them can be used. It is always important that you do your homework well and engage in extensive consultations with your doctor in order to choose the best and most applicable treatment possible depending on your current situation. This will go a long way to providing a sound treatment solution for your condition.

While the patient recovers from surgery, he or she will need special care. And just so the drugs do not make his/her heart stop, even momentarily, it is very important for the caregiver to have some CPR first aid certification.