Information for the public

Pancreatic cancer: the care you should expect

Pancreatic cancer is the fifth leading cause of cancer death in the UK. About 23 people die every day from this type of cancer. Its symptoms can be similar to lots of other conditions and people are often diagnosed late. We want this guideline to make a difference to people who have pancreatic cancer, by making sure that:

  • if pancreatic cancer is suspected, you are offered the right tests to confirm it quickly and help your care team learn all they can about it – this will help them to plan the best treatment
  • you are seen by a specialist pancreatic cancer team who will help you understand all your treatment options and support you to make decisions about your care
  • you and your family get psychological support to cope with the effect of pancreatic cancer on your life
  • you get help with symptoms, including help to control any pain and to make sure you get enough nutrition from your diet.

Making decisions together

Decisions about treatment and care are best when they are made together. Your care team should give you clear information, talk with you about your options and listen carefully to your views and concerns.

To help you make decisions, think about:

  • What matters most to you – what do you want to get out of any treatment?
  • What are you most worried about – are there risks or downsides to the treatment that worry you more than others?
  • How will the treatment affect your day to day life?
  • What happens if you don’t want to have treatment?

If you can’t understand the information you are given, tell your health professional.

Read more about making decisions about your care.

In the news

Read NICE news about how this guideline will help.

Pancreatic cancer patients should be offered early scans to avoid unnecessary surgery, says NICE

NICE recommends the use of a more accurate scan to diagnose and determine the stage of pancreatic cancer in patients.

Where can I find out more?

NHS Choices has more information about pancreatic cancer.

Find your nearest local Healthwatch.

The organisations below can give you more advice and support.

NICE is not responsible for the content of these websites.

We wrote this guideline with people who have been affected by pancreatic cancer and staff who treat and support them. All the decisions are based on the best research available.

ISBN: 978-1-4731-2795-1

This page was last updated: