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What are the Signs of Pancreatic Cancer?

What are the Signs of Pancreatic Cancer?

Pancreatic cancer symptoms are often difficult to detect, making it even harder to diagnose this potentially deadly disease. It’s important to remember that many of the indicators will not present themselves until after the disease is in an advanced stage. Keep reading for a list of possible signs. 

Stomach Pains

Among the basic pancreatic cancer symptoms is a soreness or pain in the high abdomen. Patients often complain that the pain spreads through the area and around to their back. Many people going through this type of discomfort will often experience alleviation once they lean forward.

This type of abdomen pain is usually present in the majority of patients (approximately 80%), but is typically only evident during the advanced stages of the disease. Eating can often worsen the pain or cause increased discomfort.

Loss of Appetite

Loss of appetite and subsequent weight loss are also common symptoms associated with pancreatic cancer. Unfortunately, appetite loss and decreased weight are also symptoms associated with a number of other diseases and ailments, including digestive issues.


Since pancreatic cancer can block the bile duct – which flows partly through the head of the pancreas – jaundice is a frequent symptom of the disease. Tumors that develop on the pancreas are typically the root of jaundice development, which is characterized by a yellowing of the skin.

Generally, those diagnosed with pancreatic cancer see jaundice companioned with orange or dark urine and constant itching of the skin. Roughly one-half of localized pancreatic cancer patients endure painful jaundice, while half of those with less advanced or treatable forms of the disease are diagnosed in the midst of painless jaundice.

Trousseau Sign

TTrousseauSign is a secondary affliction that causes grumes or blood clots to develop in hepatic portal veins, abstruse veins and surface veins without warning. While not exclusive to patients with pancreatic cancer, it is often associated with the disease.

Clinical Depression

Though not as thoroughly reported or documented, clinical depression is an associated side effect of pancreatic cancer. The depression often presents itself before the disease is diagnosed.

Diagnosing Pancreatic Cancer

Pancreatic cancer is typically diagnosed after the above symptoms are either detected by the patient or the supervising doctor. After the indicators are evaluated, liver function tests and tests for CA19-9 – a marker for pancreatic cancer – are often performed.

CT scans and ultrasounds are other common methods of detecting pancreatic cancer and used to detect visible tumors or lesions. An endoscopic ultrasound or biopsy can also be used to obtain and test tissue samples.

Early Screening for Pancreatic Cancer

If you have two or more immediate family members (or three or more extended relatives) who have been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer symptoms, you should ask your doctor about early screening for the disease. Pancreatic cancer symptoms often don’t present themselves until it is too late, making early screening critical for those at risk.

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