Signs of pancreatic cancer according to the American Cancer Society (ACS)

Smart Life Tips

Pancreatic cancer is difficult to identify. In the early stages, there may not be many signs that something is wrong. That's why doctors often call him a "silent killer." Recently, actor Willie Garson has died of a fatal illness. Gerson, best known for his role as Stanford Blatch in Sex and the City, was 57 years old when he died of pancreatic cancer on September 21 after a "short illness." Of the 60,430 cases of pancreatic cancer diagnosed by the American Chemical Society (ACS) in 2021, most are found only if the cancer is in the advanced stage or has spread to other organs. Most signs and symptoms occur later.
Signs of pancreatic cancer according to the American Cancer Societywoman check up

The first symptoms of a pancreatic tumor usually include jaundice or yellowing of the skin and white of the eyes caused by excess bilirubin, a dark tan substance produced by the liver. Sudden weight loss is also a common early warning sign of pancreatic cancer. Other symptoms of pancreatic cancer are:

  1. Dark-colored urine
  2. Itchy skin
  3. Digestive problems, including abnormal stools, nausea or vomiting
  4. Pain in the upper abdomen, which may extend to the back
  5. Appetite loss
  6. Swollen gallbladder (usually found by a doctor during a physical exam)
  7. Blood clots
  8. Diabetes

Symptoms of pancreatic cancer


Jaundice is yellowing of the skin and eyes and can also cause itching of the skin, dark urine, and mild or greasy stools. This is mainly the result of symptoms such as hepatitis and gallstones.

So why does jaundice indicate pancreatic cancer?

Jaundice is not primarily caused by pancreatic cancer, but is usually one of the first symptoms of pancreatic cancer and is most often experienced by patients with pancreatic cancer.

The liver normally releases bile. Bile contains bilirubin, a dark tan substance produced by the liver. During digestion, bile travels through the common bile duct to the intestine, facilitating the breakdown of fat and then excreted in the stool.

However, if the common bile duct is obstructed (for example, by a tumor starting from the head of the pancreas), bilirubin can accumulate and cause jaundice. In some cases, even small tumors can squeeze the canal, allowing doctors to detect cancer early. However, cancer that begins in the body or tail of the pancreas does not compress the ducts through the pancreas, and in some cases before it spreads to other organs, usually the liver, and exacerbates jaundice.

1. Pain in the upper back or middle abdomen

Abdominal pain is a common symptom of pancreatic cancer, were very large tumors begin to press on adjacent organs, causing discomfort and pain.

These cancers also often cause pain in the patient's back. This is usually due to metastases to the nerves that surround the pancreas.

However, back and abdominal pain may indicate other conditions in addition to pancreatic cancer, so it is important to consult your doctor if you experience pain.

2. Nausea and vomiting

Patients with tumors that have grown to the edge of the stomach and who may partially block the normal pathways of food through the digestive system may experience increased nausea, vomiting, and pain after eating.

3. Swelling of the gallbladder or liver

If the tumor blocks the bile ducts, the gallbladder fills with excess bile and can grow. In this case, the doctor may find swelling (a large lump under the right thorax) during a routine examination. Alternatively, these tumors may appear on computed tomography (CT) or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) imaging tests.

The liver can also swell, especially if cancer has spread there. It can also be detected by imaging.

Diabetes and pancreatic cancer

Although less common, the development of diabetes can be a sign of pancreatic cancer, especially in older patients who suddenly develop diabetes.

Pancreatic cancer can damage the cells of the pancreas that produce insulin (the hormone that regulates blood sugar levels made by the pancreas), causing elevated blood sugar levels and diabetes.

Cancer does not always change blood sugar levels enough to show signs of diabetes, but if it does, symptoms may include thirst, hunger, and increased urination.

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