Originally Posted by bonnie94ssei
I wonder how they would diagnose someone with pancreatic cancer unless they were sure there was a tumor. I guess what they thought was a tumor was something else.
Probably did other tests that may have confused the two.
Tumours can be malignant (cancerous) or benign (non-cancerous) so he may well have had an actual tumour. In addition to various blood tests, ultrasound, MRI, CT and an upper GI series the one guaranteed method of diagnosis is a biopsy. It'* possible there was tumour not determined to be benign until after a biopsy or surgery to remove the mass. I can't quote percentages off the top of my head but as memory serves malignancies are of a much greater proportion. This whole issue was also likely clouded by the blood work which, since the actual diagnosis was pancreatitis would certainly not have returned as normal. Imaging would also have shown an altered physical appearance due to the inflamation.
Often a diagnosis (in general terms) is made by a specific set of criteria. Some patients haven't "read the book" and present slightly different than what is expected. This can make the accuracy of a diagnosis subject to a larger margin of error.