Pancreatic cancer is often difficult to discern and spot, and many are not diagnosed until it is too late. It’s a dangerous illness and it spreads very quickly and painfully, and it has a very high fatality rate.
That’s why it’s important to be on the lookout for signs of this condition. Here are nine signs of pancreatic cancer to keep in mind.
1. Nausea or vomiting
With how quickly this cancer spreads, it can begin to affect other organs throughout the body, too. This can result in sick organs that cause blockages, making it difficult for food to properly travel through your digestive system.
This may lead to vomiting or nauseousness, or can cause you to feel stomach pain when eating.
2. Sudden weight loss
As aforementioned, the organ damage caused by pancreatic cancer can cause your digestive system to be unable to transport food around the body. This will cause you to lose weight, even if you haven’t changed your eating habits at all.
If you notice unexplained weight loss – or a random loss of appetite for no reason – it may be cause for concern.
3. Stomach and back pain
If your pancreas is developing an illness, the area surrounding it will begin to feel in pain almost constantly. The area beneath the breastbone may feel a dull ache that might spread up to the sides, stomach, or back as the pancreas starts to press against nerves and other organs in its vicinity.
It’s important to note the difference between everyday pain and one that is more serious.
Many individuals deal with bloating somewhat regularly, but there’s a point where it becomes a cause for concern. Pancreatic cancer bloats can cause your stomach to be distended, so you almost appear pregnant even on an empty stomach or first thing in the morning.
Bloating can be a sign of many other dangerous conditions, so make sure to discern the difference between what’s normal and what isn’t.
5. Discolored stools or urine
Due to the organ damage sustained from pancreatic cancer, a buildup of bile will occur in the body that causes changes in urine and also in bowel movements.
Those with pancreatic cancer may have a dark tea-colored urine or clay-colored, greasy stools. Your excretions reveal a lot about your health so be sure to monitor them for changes, even if it is a bit gross.
6. Yellow skin and itchiness on skin
You likely associate jaundice with liver disease, but the yellowing of skin can also be a sign of pancreatic cancer. It is also due to the buildup of bile in the body from organ damage, which causes waste products and fats to accumulate and turn your skin yellow.
The white of the eyes may also become yellow or you may notice areas on your skin that are itching and yellowish. Jaundice should always be taken seriously.
7. Blood clots
A blood clot isn’t exactly uncommon. Those who sit too long in less than ideal positions can develop clots in the leg known as deep vein thrombosis (DVT).
Pancreatic cancer adds to the risk of blood clots forming. Blood clots aren’t always caused by cancer but if you have them often, a doctor’s visit is a good idea.
40% of all patients with pancreatic cancer are diagnosed with diabetes a few months prior to the cancer being discovered. Since the pancreas regulates the hormones that are responsible for keeping blood sugar levels healthy, it can cause diabetes.
If you’re in perfect health and suddenly wind up with diabetes, you should speak to a doctor about doing tests and scans.
Depression is far from an isolated mental health condition.
Unless you have a history of anxiety, depression, or mental health issues in general, a sudden bout of depression brought on by fatigue, weight loss, or pain should be checked immediately.