Nausea and vomiting (symptom of pancreatic cancer)

Pancreatic Cancer Action
Patient Information Booklets

Control the symptoms of pancreatic cancer

This booklet covers the different procedures used to control pancreatic cancer symptoms with practical information about your hospital visit and returning home. Includes a section about second opinions, clinical trials and questions to ask your doctor and a glossary to explain some of the terms used.

There are many reasons why you might feel or be sick at different times throughout your illness.

Sometimes the disease itself causes these symptoms due to the space it is taking up inside your body or because it is preventing you being able to digest nutrients in the normal way (malabsorption).

Some treatments and medications may cause nausea and vomiting such as chemotherapy. Sometimes constipation or the body not moving things through the intestine as it should (intestinal dysmotility) is the cause.

Nausea and vomiting can be caused by the tumour due to an obstruction (blockage). A CT scan may reveal the blockage and you may have a stent fitted in the area affected. Whatever the reason, there are ways of relieving nausea and vomiting.

If you have malabsorption you may notice that you have lost weight and your stools are pale, large and very smelly. Pancreatic enzyme replacement therapy will allow you to digest your food better and prevent the sickness.

Dietitians can give you advice about your intake and you can ask to be referred by your medical team. You can have oral, liquid, injected or syringe driver medication for nausea and vomiting. You may need to try a number of different medications and doses before you find what works for you.

Other tips include eating foods or sipping drinks with ginger or mint flavours.