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How are biopsies performed in the diagnosis for pancreatic cancer?

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  • Biopsies can be performed in several ways: Percutaneous needle biopsy: Under imaging guidance, a radiologist inserts a needle into the mass, capturing some tissue. This procedure is also called a fine needle aspiration (FNA).
  • Endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP): A flexible tube with a camera and other tools on its end (endoscope) is put through the mouth to the small intestine, near the pancreas. ERCP can collect images from the area, as well as take a small biopsy with a brush.
  • Endoscopic ultrasound: Similar to ERCP, an endoscope is placed near the pancreas. An ultrasound probe on the endoscope locates the mass, and a needle on the endoscope plucks some tissue from the mass.
  • Laparoscopy is a surgical procedure that uses several small incisions. Using laparoscopy, a surgeon can collect tissue for biopsy, as well as see inside the abdomen to determine if pancreatic cancer has spread. However, laparoscopy has higher risks than other biopsy approaches.

SOURCES:

American Cancer Society web site: "Detailed Guide: Pancreatic Cancer."

National Cancer Institute: "Islet Cell Tumors."

Reviewed by Minesh Khatri on July 24, 2017

SOURCES:

American Cancer Society web site: "Detailed Guide: Pancreatic Cancer."

National Cancer Institute: "Islet Cell Tumors."

Reviewed by Minesh Khatri on July 24, 2017

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When is surgery used to treat pancreatic cancer?

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