The symptoms of pancreatic cancer don't usually show when the disease is in its early stages, making it difficult to diagnose. In case the symptoms show, three early pointers reveal themselves, and it’s important you know them. To completely avoid pancreatic cancer, one should be aware of the causes of this disease.
Pancreatic cancer starts showing symptoms when the tumor has grown. It also depends on the tumor location and the type of pancreatic cancer. This form of cancer is not common in people below 40 years old, but most of the new diagnosed cases are in individuals aged 75.
The early signs and symptoms of pancreatic cancer that one should look out for include:
• There’s pain around the stomach area or in the back, which starts mildly at first, but becomes worse after eating or when lying down.
• Unanticipated weight loss.
• Jaundice (the yellowing of the whites of the eyes and the skin. Jaundice can also cause pale colored poo, itchy skin, and dark yellow or orange urine.
Looking at these first noticeable symptoms, one may mistake them with symptoms of other less serious health conditions.
The other symptoms of pancreatic cancer are:
• Changes in bowel movements – This is when one passes frequent large pale colored fatty stools. It occurs because of blocked pancreatic ducts – a condition called steatorrhoea.
• Indigestion – If this doesn’t heal with medicine, then it’s a warning sign of pancreatic cancer.
• Itching – One experiences itching on the skin due to increased bile salts in the bloodstream.
• One can also develop diabetes symptoms if they have pancreatic cancer. This may be due to the tumor stopping the pancreas from producing insulin normally.
• Nausea and vomiting, fever and shivering, blood clots are additional symptoms of pancreatic cancer.
The cause of pancreatic cancer is not known, but some of the risk factors associated with it are smoking, long-term heavy alcohol intake, increased red meat diet, history of cancer such as mouth cancer, stomach cancer and testicular cancer, lack of exercise and obesity, and much more. Remember, having these risk factors does not necessarily mean you will develop pancreatic cancer.
The Sandler-Kenner Foundation was started by Gregory A. Echt, M.D. and his wife, Susan T. Echt, after they lost two of their dear friends, Michael and Peter, to premature deaths from pancreatic cancer.