Pancreatic cancer is best treated if diagnosed at an early stage. But pancreatic cancer is generally asymptomatic, and the first warning signs of pancreatic cancer overlap with other, less serious conditions.
This means that many people with pancreatic cancer do not seek medical attention or are diagnosed until the cancer has spread.
Being aware of the warning signs of pancreatic cancer can help you see your doctor or specialist as soon as possible so that the cancer can be diagnosed and treated before it spreads.
In this article, we will take a closer look at the signs and symptoms of pancreatic cancer and when to see a doctor.
What are the early signs and symptoms of pancreatic cancer?
The most difficult thing about pancreatic cancer is that people in the early stages of this cancer do not have any symptoms. Sometimes even later stages are easy to confuse with less serious conditions.
After symptoms appear, they usually include:
loss of appetite
sudden and unintentional weight loss
nausea and vomiting
Jaundice is the medical term for yellowing of your skin or eyes. This is often one of the first symptoms of pancreatic cancer. It is associated with more common conditions such as gallstones and hepatitis.
In pancreatic cancer, jaundice occurs because the tumor blocks the bile ducts. The bile ducts in your liver allow bile and a byproduct of liver function called bilirubin to be excreted. Bilirubin accumulates when the bile ducts are blocked. It causes jaundice.
Itchy skin, black urine
Accumulation of bilirubin causes dark urine and itchy skin. Bile duct obstruction can cause changes in the frequency or consistency of your bowel movements.
Nausea and vomiting
Pancreatic tumors can grow at the end of your stomach. This can block the passage of food through your digestive system. Constipation can cause nausea and vomiting.
Pancreatic tumors can press on nearby organs and cause pain. It usually occurs in your stomach, but back pain can also occur. Stomach or back pain is generally a symptom of an enlarged tumor and may be due to other conditions. But it’s a good idea to talk to a doctor about any pain.