Symptoms of Pancreatic Cancer

November is pancreatic cancer awareness month and with it comes the opportunity to discuss symptoms of pancreatic cancer. Pancreatic cancer is life threatening because the early stages of the cancer usually produce no signs or symptoms. Once symptoms do present themselves, in many cases the cancer has already spread to areas outside of the pancreas.

Below are symptoms of pancreatic cancer. It is important to note that many of these symptoms are more commonly associated with other conditions. Therefore, if you have any of the symptoms on the list, that does not mean you are suffering from pancreatic cancer. However, it is always recommended to be checked by a doctor if you fear you are at risk.

  • Loss of appetite and weight loss: It is common for patients with pancreatic cancer to lose weight due to a decrease in appetite.
  • Abdominal or back pain: As the cancer grows, pain may occur as a result of pressing on other organs or nerves.
  • Jaundice: Commonly identified by a yellow appearance to the eyes and skin, jaundice is a common feature of pancreatic cancer sufferers. Other signs of jaundice include dark urine, light-colored or greasy stools, and itchy skin.
  • Nausea: Another symptom of pancreatic cancer is nausea or vomiting caused by the cancer pressing on or partially blocking the stomach, making it difficult for food to pass.
  • Blood clots: Also known as deep vein thrombosis (DVT), blood clots can be a sign of pancreatic cancer.
  • Diabetes: In rare cases, pancreatic cancer may cause diabetes as the cancer destroys cells that produce insulin.
  • Abnormalities in fatty tissue: Caused by the pancreatic enzymes that digest fat, it is common for pancreatic cancer patients to develop an uneven texture of the fatty tissue found under the skin.
  • Gallbladder enlargement: Bile can build up in the gallbladder as a result of the cancer blocking the bile duct, causing it to become enlarged.
  • Liver enlargement: Specifically if the cancer has spread to the liver, liver enlargement may also be a symptom of pancreatic cancer.   

Once again, it is important to note that although the symptoms above have been associated with pancreatic cancer, they do not indicate that you are suffering from pancreatic cancer. Please consult with your doctor if you wish to discuss your symptoms.

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If you have been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, Suncoast Cancer Institute is here. Our highly trained staff will be with you every step of the way through your treatment, fighting alongside you. Learn more about what sets Suncoast Cancer Institute apart from other oncology centers and request an appointment today. It is never too late to get the care you deserve.

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