How is chronic pancreatitis differentiated from pancreatic cancer?

Updated: Mar 07, 2019
  • Author: Tomislav Dragovich, MD, PhD; Chief Editor: N Joseph Espat, MD, MS, FACS  more...
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Answer

The most difficult clinical situation in which to diagnose pancreatic carcinoma is in the patient with underlying chronic pancreatitis. In such cases, all of the above imaging studies may show abnormalities that may not help to differentiate between pancreatic carcinoma and chronic pancreatitis. Even tumor markers can be elevated in patients with chronic pancreatitis. In these patients, one must often combine multiple imaging modalities, close clinical follow-up, serial imaging studies, and, occasionally, empiric resection, to diagnose an underlying pancreatic carcinoma.

Go to Radiologic Diagnosis and Staging of Pancreatic Carcinoma for complete information on this topic.


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