If pancreatic cancer is diagnosed, the doctor needs to know the stage
, or extent, of the disease to plan the best treatment. Staging is a careful attempt to find out whether the cancer has spread, and if so, to what parts of the body.
Stages of Pancreatic Cancer
Stage 0 (carcinoma in situ)
- In stage 0, abnormal cells are found in the lining of the pancreas. These abnormal cells may become cancer and spread into nearby normal tissue. Stage 0 is also called carcinoma in situ.
- In stage I, cancer has formed and is found in the pancreas only. Stage I is divided into stage IA and stage IB, based on the size of the tumor:
The tumor is 2 centimeters or smaller.
The tumor is larger than 2 centimeters.
- In stage II, cancer may have spread to nearby tissue and organs, and may have spread to lymph nodes near the pancreas. Stage II is divided into stage IIA and stage IIB, based on where the cancer has spread:
Cancer has spread to nearby tissue and organs but has not spread to nearby lymph nodes.
Cancer has spread to nearby lymph nodes and may have spread to nearby tissue and organs.
- In stage III, cancer has spread to the major blood vessels near the pancreas and may have spread to nearby lymph nodes.
- In stage IV, cancer may be of any size and has spread to distant organs, such as the liver, lung, and peritoneal cavity. It may have also spread to organs and tissues near the pancreas or to lymph nodes.