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What is Pancreatic Cancer? Signs and Symptoms of Pancreatic Cancer

The pancreas is the gland which is located behind the stomach and in front of the spine. It produces digestive juices and hormones which are responsible for regulation of blood sugar.Pancreatic Cancer is a disease in which malignant (cancerous) cells form in the tissues of the pancreas.

Pancreatic cancer is categorized depending on the fact that it affects the exocrine or endocrine functions of the pancreas. There is an important distinction between the two broad types of pancreatic cancer because they have different risk factors, causes, symptoms, diagnostic tests, treatments, and prognoses.The majority of pancreatic cancers start in the exocrine cells which produce digestive juices.

Pancreatic Cancer is regarded as one of the most aggressive forms of cancer, affecting few patients. However, the patients post-diagnosis and during treatment are not even able to survive 5 years.

Pancreatic Cancer Risk Factors:

The factors which can cause pancreatic cancer include:

  • Chronic pancreatitis
  • Inherited conditions
  • Familial pancreatic cancer syndromes
  • Long-standing Diabetes
  • Smoking

Pancreatic Cancer Symptoms:

In Pancreatic cancer, it often goes undetected until it’s advanced and difficult to treat. In the majority of cases, symptoms only develop after cancer has grown and begun to spread. And more than 95% of pancreatic cancer is the adenocarcinoma type.

Initially, it tends to be silent and painless as it grows. By the time it’s large enough to cause symptoms.

Because pancreatic cancer grows around important areas of the digestive system, gastrointestinal symptoms often predominate:

  • Pain in upper and lower abdomen: More than 80% of people with this disease eventually experience some abdominal pain as it grows. Pancreatic cancer can cause a dull ache in the upper abdomen part and radiate to the back. The pain occurs off and on.
  • Bloating: Some people may have a sense of early fullness with meals (satiety) or an uncomfortable swelling in the abdomen.
  • Pale-colored stools. If the duct responsible for draining bile into the intestine is blocked by pancreatic cancer, the stools may lose their normal brown color and become pale or clay-colored. Urine may also become darker.
  • Nausea
  • Diarrhea

Pancreatic Cancer: Whole-Body Symptoms

As it grows and spreads, pancreatic cancer affects the whole body. Such symptoms can include:

  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Jaundice (yellowing of the skin)
  • Malaise
  • Loss of appetite
  • Fatigue
  • Fluctuation in blood sugars level: Some people with pancreatic cancer may develop diabetes as cancer impairs the pancreas’ ability to produce insulin.