Pancreatic Cancer Screening


Pancreatic cancer is difficult to diagnose and diagnosis is often made later in the course of the disease. Pancreatic cancer is most treatable when it’s detected early, but unfortunately there are no routine screenings that detect pancreatic cancer in its early stages. You may qualify for a special screening program if you’re at a higher risk of pancreatic cancer, such as having a family history of the disease. 

What to Expect

Screening starts by meeting with a genetic counselor to talk about your family and personal health history. The genetic counselor decides if it’s appropriate for you to see a pancreas specialist (gastroenterologist) for further consultation.

If so, you’ll see a gastroenterologist, who’ll review your health information, examine you and discuss screening. If you and your doctor decide to proceed with screening, you’ll be scheduled for an endoscopic ultrasound (EUS).

The endoscopic ultrasound lets your doctor see pictures of the upper GI tract including the pancreas and take a tissue sample (biopsy) to check for cancer. If the test is normal, your doctor may recommend follow-up testing once a year. If it shows abnormal results, your doctor will talk with you about next steps.

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