Doctors can help identify pancreatic cancer within a patient by looking at a rise in protein levels in the blood, known as tumor markers. Specific tumor markers, such as CA19-9 can be a strong indicator or pancreatic cancer if the levels are sufficiently elevated. While a rise in the CA19-9 tumor marker can be spotted, often it is only noticed after the cancer has significantly progressed.
Currently, new tests are being developed to detect pancreatic cancer in what are considered high risk patients. Traditional screening methods have not proven to be a good indicator of early pancreatic cancer detection.
For some, genetic testing can be a positive indicator of an increased risk of pancreatic cancer. Certain genetic changes can be tested for and evaluated by doctors who can better explain just what these possible changes, markers and syndromes may indicate within a patient.
These tests do not attempt to identify pancreatic cancer itself.
For more information please visit:
Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center & Comprehensive Cancer Center
American Cancer Society
National Cancer Institute
Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results Program