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The Pancreas
Structure and Location
Functional Role of Pancreas
Pancreatic Cancer
Basics of Cancer
Pancreatic Cancer
Risk Factors
Signs and Symptoms
Diagnosis
Staging
Treatment
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Medical Treatment
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Pancreatic Cancer

Common Signs and Symptoms of Pancreatic Cancer

The table given below describes some of the common signs and symptoms of pancreatic cancer.6

Please note that this information is not a substitute for your physician's advice but is just a source of information.

SYMPTOM CAUSE

Abdominal pain

This results due to enlargement of the tumor, making it adequately large to push against surrounding organs and nerves. The pain may get aggravated after a meal or while lying down. This is also common during recovery post surgery

Back pain

Usually caused by tumor becoming large enough to push against surrounding organs and nerves. It can also be due to vertebral column (bone) involvement. The pain may get aggravated after a meal or while lying down

Anorexia
(A diminished appetite and/or aversion to food)

Loss of appetite and signs of physical weight loss
Weight loss is a common factor among almost all types of cancers. The cancer cells tend to compete with the healthy cells for nutrients. Moreover, tumors of the pancreas generally interfere with digestion, contributing further to weight loss

Jaundice

The last portion of the bile duct joins with the pancreatic duct in the back of the head of the pancreas and empties into the duodenum. As a tumor grows in the head of the pancreas the bile duct gets blocked
When the duct is obstructed bile backs up into the liver and enters the bloodstream. This leads to a visible yellowing of the eyes and the skin. As bile is not reaching the digestive tract, stool becomes light or clay-colored

Darkening of urine color

Jaundice
The accumulation of bile in the urine makes it appear darker than usual

Itchiness (Pruritis)

This occurs due to obstruction of bile ducts- see jaundice above

Weight loss

Loss of appetite and signs of physical weight loss.
Weight loss is a common factor among almost all types of cancers. The cancer cells tend to compete with the healthy cells for nutrients. Moreover, tumors of the pancreas generally interfere with digestion, contributing further to weight loss

Nausea/ Vomiting

Obstruction of digestive tract by tumor

Vomiting

Obstruction of digestive tract and/or bile ducts by tumor

Fever

The obstruction of bile ducts can lead to infection in the bile ducts and probably of the liver. The body's immune response to the infection results in a fever

Chills

Infection caused by obstruction of the bile ducts and/or biological therapy (vaccines)

Diarrhea

This is caused by the lack of pancreatic enzymes, which affects digestion

Diabetes

This can be attributed to impaired insulin secretion by the pancreas

Abdominal distension

  • May indicate advancement of the cancer to the abdominal (peritoneal) cavity
  • Liver disease
  • Portal vein thrombosis

Bone pain

May be due to proliferation of the cancer to bone