ON THIS PAGE: You will learn about how doctors describe a tumor’s growth or spread. This is called the stage. To see other pages in this guide, use the colored boxes on the right side of your screen, or click “Next” at the bottom.
Staging is a way of describing where the tumor is located, if or where it has spread, and whether it is affecting other parts of the body. Doctors use diagnostic tests to determine the tumor's stage, so staging may not be complete until all the tests are finished. Knowing the stage helps the doctor decide what kind of treatment is best and can help predict a patient's prognosis (chance of recovery). For example, people with a smaller tumor may not need surgery, while many people with a larger tumor do. This is because an islet cell tumor smaller than 2 centimeters (cm) in size acts like a benign tumor almost 100% of the time.
There is no standard staging system for an islet cell tumor, so the doctor will most likely classify the tumor into one of the following groups:
- A tumor in the pancreas that is only found in one site
- A tumor in the pancreas that is found in multiple sites
- A tumor that has spread to the lymph nodes (tiny, bean-shaped organs that help fight infection) or other parts of the body
- A recurrent tumor, which is a tumor that has come back after treatment
Information about the tumor's stage will help the doctor recommend a treatment plan for you. Choose “Next” (below, right) to continue reading about treatment options for an islet cell tumor. Or, use the colored boxes located on the right side of your screen to visit any section.