Tests for pancreatic cancer

You might have one or more tests to diagnose pancreatic cancer. You then have further tests to find out the size of the cancer and whether it has spread to other parts of the body (the stage of the cancer).

Blood tests for pancreatic cancer

You might have blood tests to help find out the cause of your symptoms. You also have regular blood tests before, during and after treatment for pancreatic cancer.

CT scan

A CT scan is a test that uses x-rays and a computer to create detailed pictures of the inside of your body. It is one of the most common tests for pancreatic cancer.

Abdominal ultrasound for pancreatic cancer

You may have an ultrasound of your tummy (abdomen). This is most likely if you have yellowing of the skin or eyes (jaundice).

Biopsy for pancreatic cancer

There are different ways of taking a sample of cells (biopsy) to check for pancreatic cancer. 

Endoscopic ultrasound

This test combines an ultrasound and endoscopy to look at your food pipe, stomach, pancreas and nearby lymph nodes.

MRI and MRCP scan

You might have an MRI scan, or a type of MRI called an MRCP, to find out if you have pancreatic cancer. Or you might have it to find out the size of a cancer and whether it has spread.


ERCP stands for endoscopic retrograde cholangio pancreatography. It can help to diagnose conditions of the liver, bile ducts, pancreas or gallbladder.


Laparoscopy is a small operation to look inside your tummy (abdomen). You might have it to find out if you have pancreatic cancer. Or to check if a cancer has spread.

PET-CT scan

A PET-CT scan combines a CT scan and a PET scan. It gives detailed information about your cancer. You might have it to see if pancreatic cancer has spread.

Last reviewed: 
26 Sep 2019
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