Upper abdominal pain or discomfort

Upper abdominal pain (or discomfort) can be a symptom of pancreatic cancer.

What is it?

Abdominal (tummy) pain or discomfort is one of the most common symptoms and one of the first symptoms to often present itself.

The pain or discomfort can be caused by the tumour invading nerves or organs that lie near the pancreas. The pain or discomfort is usually felt above the belly button and below the breast area (called the epigastric region), however, some patients report they have pain and discomfort without a specific location.

How do I know if I have this?

Having tummy pain or discomfort is a common symptom for many diseases and does not mean you have pancreatic cancer. However, if this is new and unusual for you or combined with other symptoms you should visit your GP to check.

What should I do if I am experiencing upper abdominal pain or discomfort?

If you regularly experience one or more of the symptoms of pancreatic cancer which are not normal for you, do not ignore them, contact your GP straight away or call NHS 111 to investigate.

COVID-19 update: Although GP practices may be changing the way that they run appointments or interact with you, they are still available for you and it is vital that you still contact them if you have any of the symptoms of pancreatic cancer. Read more.

Symptoms diary

Keeping track of any symptoms you may be experiencing can be useful when discussing them with your GP.

Other symptoms of pancreatic cancer

It is important to remember that the symptoms of pancreatic cancer can be caused by many different conditions, including irritable bowel syndrome or indigestion, and aren’t usually the result of cancer.

You may not have all of the symptoms and they may come and go a vary in severity. Find out more about the different symptoms of pancreatic cancer: