Common Signs Of Pancreatic Cancer

by Mr Satkam Divya, CEO, KlinicappThe pancreas gland lies horizontally behind your stomach and responsible for the secretion of various digestive enzymes into the initial part of the small intestine, duodenum. The endocrine part of the pancreas secretes various hormones known for controlling the blood sugar levels.

Pancreatic cancer is a rare condition and usually doesn’t show any sign or symptom in the early stages. Various signs are shown in the advanced stages of pancreatic cancer, but it is not necessary that these signs are only due to the cancer of the pancreas. Various other unhealthy conditions are also responsible for the signs very similar to pancreatic cancer. Some common signs of pancreatic cancer may include:

Jaundice or Jaundice like Symptoms:
Jaundice is the condition characterized by the yellowing of skin and eyes. Most of the people affected with pancreatic cancer will develop jaundice as one of the earliest symptoms.

Bilirubin is a brownish yellow substance secreted with the bile juice by the liver. Bile juice aids the process of digestion especially the digestion of fats. In the case of pancreatic cancer, the common bile duct is blocked. Bile is unable to reach the intestine and bilirubin starts building up in the body. Jaundice is the characteristic feature of an increase in bilirubin levels in the body.

Some other symptoms associated with jaundice are itchy skin, dark urine, and light-colored greasy stools.
The appearance of any or all of these symptoms doesn’t necessarily mean you are affected with pancreatic cancer, but you should get alerted and consult your physician.

Pain in Belly and Back:
Abdominal pain and backache are very common in pancreatic cancer, especially when cancer starts from the body or tail of the pancreas. Cancer of the body or tail of the pancreas spreads rapidly and starts affecting nearby organs like stomach, small intestine, and liver, etc. causing mild to severe pain. Sometimes, pancreatic cancer is ignored in case of abdominal or back pain because both of the symptoms are very common and may be associated with other health conditions as well.

Enlargement of Liver and Gallbladder:
In advanced stages of pancreatic cancer, enlargement of liver or gallbladder or both is noticed. As we have already discussed, the blockage of the bile duct in case of pancreatic cancer causes the buildup of bile juice in the gallbladder and making it larger than its actual size. When the effects of pancreatic cancer spread to the liver, the enlargement of the liver is also noticed.

In severe cases of pancreatic cancer, the patient can also have diabetes. Prolonged and severe cancer of pancreas starts destroying the insulin-making cells. Lack of insulin in the body means your body is unable to fight the constant rise in sugar levels in blood and hence can cause diabetes.

Blood Clots:
Clotting of blood in the large veins, especially the veins of legs is one of the most prominent signs of pancreatic cancer. The blood clot in large veins of the legs is known as Deep Vein Thrombosis. The symptoms of Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) may include redness, swelling, warmth, and mild to severe pain in the affected leg(s). In some cases of DVT, a small piece of the clot can detach and travel to the lungs, causing difficulty in breathing and chest pain. The blood clot in the lungs is known as Pulmonary Embolism (PE) and is seen in some other unhealthy conditions as well.

Some other symptoms associated with pancreatic cancer are fatty tissue abnormalities, nausea and vomiting, poor appetite, and progressive weight loss, etc. None of these symptoms is only linked to pancreatic cancer and may be caused due to other abnormal health conditions as well. But if you are noticing anyone or more of these symptoms, you should not ignore it and take the required steps with the help of your physician. After all, prevention is always better than cure.