What Is Pancreatic Cancer? Every Thing You Need To Know Here

How Do Doctors Determine Stages Of Pancreatic Cancer?

How do doctors determine stages of pancreatic cancer?
How do doctors determine stages of pancreatic cancer?

Various diagnostic tests are used to bring to light all aspects of the cancerous mass. On this basis, the cancer is staged. Staging the cancer is an essential step in the direction of managing of the patient. The strategy which might be effective in treating stage 1, may just fail to treat other progressive stages. The recovery and survival rates also directly correlate with the stage at which the cancer is diagnosed, and effective treatment plan sets into action.

The results of diagnostic tests can then be classified according to the TNM staging. However, for pancreatic cancer, this method is not widely practiced.

The TNM staging of pancreatic cancer

This method of grading cancer takes into account three of the characteristic features of cancer

  • T, which stands for Tumor, represents the size of the tumor. Denoted with the subscripts, T1, T2, T3, T4, it is an indicator of the rapid proliferating potential of the tumor. It also symbolizes the location of the tumor mass.
  • N, which stands for Nodes, is representative of another characteristic nature of cancers. Their involvement of the lymph nodes.
  • M, which stands for Metastasis, represents the most clinically dreadful character of cancer; its ability to spread to distant sites.

Grading of cancer

Grading is another way to assess the character and nature of the cancer. It is not a very elaborate way of description and is of little help in guiding the cancer removal via surgery.

  • Grade 1: cancerous cells classified in this stage are just as differentiated as the normal cells of the area, in this case, pancreas. This means that like other normal cells, these cells retain the functional ability, but are differentiated on the basis of their increased multiplicative potential.
  • Grade 2: it is an intermediate level of differentiation. The cancer cells start looking abnormal in appearance, and can be differentiated on that basis from the surrounding normal cells.
  • Grade 3: it is the most ominous grade. The tumor mass is most definitely a cancer and not just a result of excited multiplication. The anatomical picture of cancer cells is distorted. They have lost the structural integrity of layering of cells.

Surgical categorization of pancreatic cancer

Most physicians categorize pancreatic cancer in one of the following types,

  • Resectable: a tumor, which, shows clear margins is called respectable. It means that the tumor can be surgically excised. The tumor in this stage does not involve surrounding structures, which allow for removal of the tumor mass with clear-cut margins.
  • Borderline resectable: at this stage, the cancer shows advancements, which may involve the surrounding tissues or supplying blood vessels. With the assistance of other therapies like chemo and radiation, the doctor may still attempt to excise the tumor out of the body.
  • Unresectable: at this advanced stage, the tumor cannot be excised. An attempt to surgically remove the tumor is futile as it may damage the surrounding structures, or simply because it is impossible to fully remove the tumor mass because of its encroachment on the surrounding structures.