Pancreatic Cancer Stages

What Stage is My Pancreatic Cancer?

Staging is the process that cancer specialists use to classify your cancer and determine which treatment options are best for you.

In many other cancer types, staging is based on the size of the tumor, whether cancer is found in any nearby or distant lymph nodes, or whether it has spread to other body areas. Staging for pancreatic cancer is slightly different and includes assessment of whether the cancer can be treated effectively and safely with surgery — called resectable.

Based on the information in your pathology report, imaging scans and physical exam, the pancreas team will classify your cancer to one of these four main categories:

  • Resectable means that the cancer has not spread outside the pancreas and can be treated effectively with surgery.
  • Borderline resectable refers to cancer that is still confined to the pancreas, but is approaching nearby structures, or you have other symptoms and the cancer might not be removed entirely with surgery.
  • Locally advanced unresectable cancer means that the disease has grown beyond the pancreas and into nearby blood vessels and cannot be treated with surgery.
  • Metastatic cancer means the cancer is found in distant organs and tissues in the body.

When Cancer Spreads to Your Liver

When cancer spreads from its original location to the liver, these new tumors, called liver metastases, need special treatment. Roswell Park offers innovative and advanced therapies unavailable elsewhere in the region that can improve survival and potentially cure the disease.

If you’ve been told your liver metastases cannot be removed surgically or are inoperable or unresectable, please contact us and ask for a second opinion from the liver metastases team.

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