Pancreatic Cancer Screening

Understanding Pancreatic Cancer Screenings

Pancreatic cancer and precancerous pancreatic lesions are among the most challenging tumors to diagnose. While screening the general population is not recommended, there are high-risk groups who may want to consider screening, such as those with a strong family history. The goals of screening are to find precancerous lesions before they turn into cancer or to identify early-stage cancers when they are more treatable.

The options for pancreatic screening services available at Capital Health include MRI or CT scans, specialized blood tests including genetic testing, and endoscopic ultrasound (EUS). EUS is the highest resolution test possible of the pancreas and also allows the physician to sample any suspicious lesions that may be identified, all in a non-invasive way. 

Typically, a combination of these tests is used as part of a pancreatic screening strategy. After meeting with a member of our pancreas team, a personalized screening strategy will be developed. 

Who should be screened for pancreatic cancer?

Those who should consider screening include individuals with:

  • One first-degree relative diagnosed with pancreatic cancer younger than age 50
  • Two or more first-degree relatives diagnosed at any age
  • Multiple second-degree relatives diagnosed
  • Hereditary pancreatitis
  • Carrier of the BRCA-1 or BRCA-2 mutation
  • Carrier of the PALB2 or p16 mutation and one first-degree relative with pancreas cancer
  • Peutz-Jaghers syndrome
  • Lynch syndrome and one first-degree relative with pancreas cancer

Additionally, anyone with any of the following may benefit from further workup of a possible pancreatic tumor:

  • A pancreas cyst
  • Unexplained acute pancreatitis
  • New onset of diabetes after age 50

How to schedule a screening appointment

To schedule a screening evaluation, please call the Capital Health Center for Digestive Health at 609-537-5000.