Cancer is a scary subject, but pancreatic cancer is one of the most feared diagnoses. According to Mayo Clinic, this condition is one of the leading causes of cancer deaths; once it’s discovered, it’s already too late to remove the cancer, and outcomes for other treatments are poor.
There are two types of pancreatic cancer:
- Exocrine pancreatic cancers
- Pancreatic neuroendocrine tumors (NETs).
Both forms of pancreatic cancer show few symptoms initially, and unless detected in the early stages, they can be difficult to treat, according to the American Cancer Society.
The symptoms of exocrine pancreatic cancer include;
- Stomach and back pain
- Weight loss and poor appetite
- Nausea and vomiting
- Blood clots.
Jaundice is when the eyes and skin develop a yellow tone due to a buildup of bilirubin in the liver, according to the American Cancer Society.
Pancreatic cancer causes this by not allowing the liver to excrete bilirubin, which normally leaves our body via our stool. The American Cancer Society says signs of jaundice include dark urine, light-colored stool and itchy skin.
Pain occurring in the stomach or back can be a sign of pancreatic cancer if cancer begins in either the body or tail of the pancreas. This causes these parts of the pancreas to grow, which can cause pain in the stomach. Additionally, the American Cancer Society says if the cancer spread to nerves around the pancreas, back pain may occur.
Nausea and vomiting could be the result of pancreatic cancer if a tumor presses against the stomach. This can block the stomach, making it difficult for food to make its way through, according to the American Cancer Society.
Another symptom of pancreatic cancer are blood clots, but more specifically in a large vein that can sometimes be found in the leg. The result is known as deep vein thrombosis (DVT) and is characterized by pain, swelling, redness and warmth in the leg, according to the American Cancer Society.