Ultrasound scans use high frequency sound waves to capture images and video of the inside of the body. They’re able to show the structure and movement of internal organs as well as blood flowing through blood vessels.
Pancreatic cancer begins in the tissues of your pancreas — an organ in your abdomen that lies behind the lower part of your stomach. Your pancreas releases enzymes that aid digestion and produces hormones that help manage your blood sugar.
If your doctor suspects you have any one of these other conditions, an abdominal ultrasound may be in your near future:
- blood clot
- enlarged organ (such as the liver, spleen, or kidneys)
- fluid in the abdominal cavity
- kidney blockage or cancer
- kidney stone
- liver cancer
How to Identify?
Abdominal ultrasounds are used to check the major organs in the abdominal cavity. These organs include the gallbladder, kidneys, liver, pancreas, and spleen. In fact, if you’re a man between the ages of 65 and 75 and smoke or used to smoke, the Mayo Clinic, recommends you have an abdominal ultrasound to check for an abdominal aortic aneurysm.
Before an abdominal ultrasound, you will be asked to change into a hospital gown and remove any jewelry or other objects that might interfere with the scan. Then you’ll lie down on a table with your abdomen exposed. An ultrasound technician (sonographer) will put a special lubricating jelly on your abdomen. The gel prevents air pockets from forming between the skin and the ultrasound transducer, which looks like a microphone. The transducer sends high frequency sound waves through your body. These waves are too high-pitched for the human ear to hear. But the waves echo as they hit a dense object, such as an organ or a baby. If you’re having pain in your abdomen, you may feel slight discomfort during an ultrasound.
What to Do?
A radiologist will interpret your ultrasound images. Your doctor will discuss the results with you at a follow-up appointment. Your doctor may ask for another follow-up scan or other tests and set up an appointment to check on any issues that were found.