What is Pancreatic Cancer Stage?

What is Pancreatic Cancer Stage?

There are some factors to consider before determining the cancer stage. The AJCC system, CT scans, endoscopic ultrasound, and Biopsy all play a part in the diagnosis. Learn more about them. You should also know your options when considering treatment for pancreatic cancer. Therefore, it's vital to talk to your healthcare provider about your treatment options.

AJCC system

The AJCC system for pancreatic cancer staging in 2004. The new version focuses on the treatment of surgically treated patients and relies on detailed pathologic analysis of resected tumor samples. In addition, the new system incorporates key descriptors that are harmonized across different disease sites, including pancreatic cancer. The most significant change is the inclusion of additional grading criteria for tumor recurrence and toxicity.

CT scans

A CT scan produces multiple images of the internal structures of the pancreas. It can detect whether cancer has spread to other organs, such as the liver or nearby lymph nodes. Physicians often use CT scans to follow up on patients after undergoing pancreatic cancer treatment. These images can also help determine if cancer has recurred or metastasized.

Endoscopic ultrasound

In this review, the authors discuss the utility of endoscopic ultrasound in pancreatic cancer staging. The use of high-frequency sound allows doctors to obtain detailed images of the digestive tract and surrounding organs. Previously, the procedure was only available at extensive research facilities, but its recent expansion to medical centers across the country will likely improve patient experiences and outcomes. However, there are some drawbacks. For example, inexperienced operators are more likely to miss cancerous cells than highly experienced ones.


Pancreatic cancer is staged based on the tumor size and whether it has spread to nearby lymph nodes or structures. Various tests and examinations determine the size of the tumor. The American Joint Committee on Cancer's TNM staging system determines pancreatic cancer stages. Cancer has progressed to one of three stages: IA, IIA, or III. In phase I, the tumor is smaller than two centimeters in diameter. Stage IIA tumors have spread to nearby structures, such as the lymph nodes or three major blood vessels near the pancreas. Stage III tumors have spread to distant sites.


Treatments aimed at reducing the tumor's size and spreading may include radiation therapy and chemotherapy. Radiation therapy targets the cancer cells in specific areas of the body and can use higher-than-normal radiation doses to target the tumor. Both treatment types are associated with side effects, such as nausea and vomiting. However, these side effects usually subside within a few weeks of treatment completion. While chemotherapy is often the first line of treatment for pancreatic cancer, radiation therapy may also be used in combination.