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Piedmont Oncology

Surgical Oncology and HPB Surgery

Piedmont Oncology Diagnostic Expertise for Pancreatic and Liver Cancers

At Piedmont Oncology, the first step in treating pancreatic and liver cancer is to establish an accurate diagnosis. While there are no practical tests for the early detection of pancreatic or liver cancer, our cancer specialists at Piedmont Oncology can help at any point in your cancer care. If you are experiencing any of the following symptoms, please contact your doctor.

  • Pancreatic cancer: The most common symptoms occur fairly late in the development of pancreatic cancer. This is one of the reasons it is a difficult cancer to cure. The symptoms include jaundice (yellow discoloration of the eyes and skin), mid back pain, nausea, loss of appetite and weight loss.
  • Liver cancer: Loss of appetite, early sense of fullness when eating, weight loss and pain in the right upper abdomen or back can be symptoms of liver cancer.

Diagnosis Expertise at Piedmont Oncology

A range of diagnostic tests are available at Piedmont Oncology to accurately diagnose pancreatic or liver cancers, including:

  • Alpha fetoprotein (AFP)
    This blood test identifies a protein that is present in the blood of patients with liver cancer. The test can be used to suggest the presence of liver cancer in people at high risk of liver cancer, such as those with scarring of the liver (cirrhosis) from hepatitis C infection. There is no reliable blood test for pancreatic cancer.

  • Ultrasound
    This test uses sounds waves to define images of the liver and pancreas. Ultrasound is often used before other imaging studies to assess the need for additional imaging studies or for biopsy.

  • Computed Tomography (CT)
    CT uses X-rays to produce pictures of the internal organs and if a tumor is detected, to determine its size and whether it has spread.

  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)
    MRI uses magnetic fields to accomplish the same goals as CT, but can provide more defined clarity for the area’s soft tissues. Your cancer specialist at Piedmont Oncology will best determine the diagnostic needs based on your individual requirements.

  • Biopsy
    When a pancreatic or liver tumor is suspected on imaging studies, a tissue sample of the tumor is obtained for analysis by a board-certified pathologist. Biopsies of a suspected tumor can be obtained in several different ways. Gastroenterologists and hepatobiliary surgeons are experts in recommending the best approach. Also, interventional radiologists perform some of these biopsies.

Find a Piedmont Oncology Specialist

The team of specialists at Piedmont Oncology will determine the appropriate path for your personalized care. To make an appointment with a liver and pancreatic cancer specialist near you or for questions about treatment options, call 404-425-1800 or use our convenient Find a Doctor search.

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