Your GP should arrange for you to see a specialist if you have symptoms that could be due to pancreatic cancer.
Depending on your symptoms and other factors, this might be an urgent referral.
Seeing your GP
It can be hard for GPs to decide who may have cancer and who might have a more minor condition. For some symptoms, your doctor may ask you to wait to see if the symptoms get better or respond to treatment, such as antibiotics.
UK referral guidelines
There are guidelines for GPs to help them decide who needs a referral.
Some of the UK nations have targets around how quickly you’ll be seen. In England an urgent referral means that you should see a specialist within 2 weeks.
This 2 week time limit does not exist in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. But wherever you live, you are seen as quickly as possible.
Urgent referral to a specialist
The referral guidelines vary slightly between the different UK nations. The below is a summary. Your GP will use these guidelines as well as their own experience and judgement.
In England, Wales and Northern Ireland
You should have an urgent referral for possible cancer of the pancreas if you are aged 40 or over and have jaundice. Jaundice means yellowing of the skin and whites of the eyes.
Your GP should consider referring you for an urgent CT scan or ultrasound scan if you are aged 60 or over with weight loss and any of the following:
- back pain
- tummy (abdomen) pain
- feeling and being sick (nausea and vomiting)
- difficulty going for a poo or not going as often (constipation)
- newly diagnosed
You should have an urgent referral for possible pancreatic cancer if you have jaundice.
Your GP should also refer you if you have unexplained weight loss, particularly if you are over 55, and you have one or more of the following:
- a lump (mass) in the upper area of your tummy
- newly diagnosed diabetes
- new and unexplained back pain
- ongoing symptoms affecting the gastrointestinal tract (such as vomiting or feeling full after eating small amounts) and tests such as
endoscopyhave not shown a cause
- an abnormal area found on a scan