20 August 2018

Pancreatic Cancer: Spotting the Signs


Singer legend, Aretha Franklin, popularly dubbed as the "Queen of Soul" passed away last week, following an eight year-long battle with pancreatic cancer. Pancreatic cancer is currently the sixth deadliest form of cancer in the UK. Often referred to as the "silent killer", it is rarely detected in the early stages, making it tricky to diagnose. 

What are the symptoms?

The information here is about the most common type of pancreatic cancer, pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC). There are also rarer types of pancreatic cancer called pancreatic neuroendocrine tumours (PNETs). They may cause some of the symptoms here, as well as some different symptoms. Read more about the symptoms of PNETs.

The symptoms of PDAC can be quite vague and may come and go to begin with. They may depend on where the cancer is in the pancreas, and you may not have all of these symptoms.

Common symptoms include:

  • Tummy (abdominal) and back pain
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Indigestion.

Other symptoms include:

  • Loss of appetite
  • Changes to bowel habits – including steatorrhoea (pale, smelly poo that may float), diarrhoea (loose watery poo) or constipation (problems emptying your bowels)
  • Jaundice (yellow skin and eyes, dark urine and itchy skin)
  • Recently diagnosed diabetes
  • Problems digesting food – such as feeling full quickly when eating, bloating, burping or lots of wind
  • Feeling and being sick (nausea and vomiting) and difficulty swallowing.

What should I do if I have symptoms?

If you have jaundice, go to your GP or accident and emergency (A&E) without delay. If you have any of the other symptoms, you don’t know why you have them, and they last four weeks or more, go to your GP.

For more Newcross Healthcare Insights, click here. 


Source: pancreaticcancer.org.uk