Typically, pancreatic cancer doesn’t cause any signs or symptoms during the earliest stages. This is part of why it is such a problematic disease because the lack of symptoms makes it difficult to detect, diagnose, and treat. As the cancer progresses, the symptoms that result will depend on the type of cancer and where it is located within the pancreas.
Nevertheless, although symptoms can be hard to spot, there are some early signs of pancreatic cancer that individuals can watch out for. But keep in mind that the symptoms that many people do experience can be quite vague and temperamental at first. For example, abdominal pain which may start off as an occasional discomfort could grow to become more frequent and painful as time passes by. However, numerous symptoms associated with pancreatic cancer can also be signs of other common illnesses.
Common Early Signs of Pancreatic Cancer:
While the following symptoms may be a sign of any number of illnesses or bodily problems, it’s important to ensure that you speak to your doctor at the first sign of anything unusual. Most pancreatic cancers are known as exocrine tumors and include symptoms that are often very vague, and may depend on where the tumor is located in the pancreas.
Abdominal pain is one of the most common early signs of pancreatic cancer, and it occurs within around 70% of all pancreatic cancer cases. Often, this symptom starts off with little more than general discomfort within the abdomen, which may spread through to the back. Some people find that their problems become worse when they are lying down or sitting, and that sitting forward may help to relieve the pain.
Jaundice is another common sign of pancreatic cancer that shows up within around 50% of all cases. The symptoms of jaundice to look out for are that the whites of the eyes and the skin begin to turn yellow. However, other signs may include dark urine, itchy skin, and pale stool. Jaundice occurs when there is a buildup of bilirubin in the blood, which is usually removed by bile fluid. Cancer growing in the pancreas may block the bile duct, thus allowing jaundice to occur.
Another highly common sign of pancreatic cancer is sudden and unexpected weight loss. If you lose a lot of weight without any obvious reason, or find that you experience a change in appetite, it’s important to speak to your doctor immediately. Pancreatic cancer can impact the ability of the pancreas to produce enzymes responsible for digesting food, meaning that the body is unable to get the nutrients it needs.
Other Symptoms of Pancreatic Cancer:
There are a number of other symptoms that are also considered to be common in patients with pancreatic cancer, although it’s worth noting that not all people will suffer from the same symptoms at the same time. Some people experience these signs before a diagnosis is even delivered, whereas others get them much later in their disease, and some don’t experience them at all.
Common symptoms include bowel problems caused by undigested food moving quickly through the body, vomiting and nausea caused by a variety of sources, heartburn and indigestion, and shivering or consistent fever.