Tests and procedures used to diagnose islet cell cancer include:
- Blood tests. Blood tests may reveal excess hormones or other signs of an islet cell cancer.
- Urine tests. Analysis of your urine may reveal breakdown products that result when your body processes hormones.
- Imaging tests. Imaging tests help your doctor look for abnormalities in your pancreas, such as islet cell cancer.
Imaging tests may include ultrasound, computerized tomography (CT), magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), positron emission tomography (PET) and somatostatin receptor scintigraphy, which uses a radioactive hormone that is taken up by islet cell cancers.
- Endoscopy. During endoscopy, a thin tube with a camera on the end is passed down your throat and into your stomach and small intestine. Special tools can be passed through the tube to collect a tissue sample (biopsy).
Endoscopy can be combined with imaging tests, such as ultrasound (endoscopic ultrasound) and X-ray (endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography).
- Surgery. In some cases your doctor may recommend minimally invasive surgery to obtain a tissue sample for testing. During laparoscopy, the surgeon makes several small incisions in your abdomen, through which special tools and a tiny camera are inserted. The surgeon then looks for signs of cancer and may collect a tissue sample.
- Biopsy. If cancer has spread to your liver, lymph nodes or other locations, a needle may be used to collect cells for analysis.