Third-generation CT scans provide detailed images of the cancer and its relationship to the surrounding structures, such as the major blood vessels around the pancreas. This information is crucial to make the determination whether a tumor in the pancreas is removable.
The most recent advance in CT technology is called volume rendering with a multi detector CT scan. Only a few centers in Southern California have this technology available. At both the Keck Medicine of USC and the Norris Cancer Center, our physicians use this technology to stage patients with pancreatic cancer. This type of CT scan allows for rapid scanning of the pancreas. A three-dimensional image of the cancer and the surrounding blood vessels is then created by a sophisticated software program to determine whether the tumor is resectable.