Often patients and doctors who do not routinely take care of patients with pancreas cancer are not sure as to whether a pancreas cancer is surgically removable or not. Indeed, that determination can often be difficult. It is very important that the patient have good imaging studies, such as the three-dimensional CT pancreas CT scans performed at Johns Hopkins. These high quality scans help to determine the exact location of the mass, whether it has invaded adjacent major blood vessels associated with the intestines and liver, and whether it has spread to other organs.
It is also important that patients who do not have clearly resectable (surgically removable) or unresectable disease are discussed in a multimodality pancreas cancer conference in which there are many doctors from different specialties present (ie surgeons, medical oncologists, radiation oncologists, gastroenterologists, radiologists, etc.)