Symptoms of Pancreatic Cancer
Pancreatic cancer is sometimes called a “silent cancer” because there are generally no symptoms in the early stages. Early pancreatic cancer symptoms are often vague and unrecognised and can often be dismissed by patients and doctors alike; by which time the diagnosis is often too late for potentially life saving surgery to be an option.
Common pancreatic cancer symptoms can include:
- New onset of significant persistent abdominal pain
- New onset of significant back pain in upper back (not lumbar region)
- Painless jaundice (yellow skin/eyes, dark urine) related to bile duct obstruction
- Significant and unexplained weight loss
Other symptoms of pancreatic cancer can include:
- Pain in the upper abdomen that typically radiates to the back and is relieved by leaning forward (seen in carcinoma in the body or tail of the pancreas)
- New-onset diabetes NOT associated with weight gain
- Vague dyspepsia or abdominal discomfort (not responding to prescribed medication)
- Loss of appetite, or nausea and vomiting
- Pain when eating
- Steatorrhea (fatty stools that are often pale and smelly)
- Venous thromboembolism (VTE) (blood clots that form in a vein) also DVT (deep vein thromboembolism)
All of these symptoms can have multiple other causes, and there is not yet a reliable diagnostic test for pancreatic cancer. Therefore, pancreatic cancer is often not diagnosed until it is advanced.
If you regularly experience any of the above symptoms which are persistent and not normal for you, contact your GP
Keep track of any symptoms you may be experiencing with our symptom diary – click on the link to download a copy.
Contact the NHS 111 Service
For general health information as well as information on pancreatic cancer, visit NHS Choices
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