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At time of diagnosis, each patient is staged so that doctors and patients can compare cancer at different stages of advancement. Patients at each stage have a prognosis dependent on the kind of treatment offered at that stage.
Stage I – The tumor is confined to the pancreas and a surgeon feels all of the obvious disease can be removed. Almost all of these patients also receive post-operative therapy because there is a high statistical probability of spreading, even if only microscopically.
Stage II – Tumor is attached to major arteries, the celiac axis, or superior mesenteric artery.
Stage III – The tumor has moved beyond the pancreas to involve lymph nodes.
Stage IV – The primary tumor varies in size. The disease has spread to other organs or another part of the body such as the liver, abdominal wall, lungs, or distant lymph nodes.