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How to treat pancreatic cancer

Pancreatic Cancer Symptoms


Pancreatic cancer causes pain in the belly (abdomen). It can also cause bloating and loss of appetite. It can make you feel tired and unable to sleep. It can also affect your blood sugar.


The most common types of pancreatic cancer are adenocarcinoma and neuroendocrine tumors. These are both cancers that develop in the exocrine pancreas. This pancreas makes digestive enzymes.


Number of patients in the world





The pancreas is an organ located in the abdomen that produces digestive enzymes and hormones. Cancer in the pancreas can affect its function and cause symptoms such as stomach or back pain, jaundice (yellowing of the skin and whites of the eyes), nausea and weight loss. The disease is often advanced by the time it is diagnosed, making treatment more challenging.





Until recently, there has been no known way to identify the earliest stages of the disease. This has contributed to a high mortality rate. However, researchers have found that two of the early signs of the disease, increased thirst and dark yellow urine, can appear up to a year before a patient is diagnosed with pancreatic cancer,






The study examined records from 24,236 patients with pancreatic cancer. The researchers looked at patients’ symptoms before they were diagnosed, and compared them to those of other patients who did not have pancreatic cancer. They found that 76 (19%) of the patients had a single initial symptom, and 212 (54%) had multiple symptoms.


Pancreatic cancer is usually asymptomatic in the early stage, which can make it difficult to diagnose. When it does cause symptoms, they can be mistaken for other conditions, like diabetes or a blood clot. Because of this, it is estimated that 80% of cases are advanced by the time they are diagnosed.





The data for this report was obtained from cancer registries with a high level of quality. However, there is the possibility of underreporting in low-income countries and a bias due to differences in reporting methods. These factors may have affected the results. This is the first report to combine global burden and risk factor data for pancreatic cancer.


Symptoms


The pancreas is a large gland behind the stomach that produces digestive enzymes to break down fats in food and hormones like insulin, which helps control blood sugar levels. Pancreatic cancer develops in the cells that make these enzymes. It is the tenth most common type of cancer in the UK, and outcomes are poor, in part because of late diagnosis. Symptoms may not appear in the early stages, and they can be confused with other conditions. However, they can include a loss of appetite, abdominal pain, and jaundice (yellowing of the skin and eyes).


Although many people don’t have any initial symptoms, others might experience several or all of these signs. Symptoms tend to appear gradually, over months or years. For this reason, it is important for people to know the possible symptoms and talk with their physician immediately if they have any of them.




Other symptoms of pancreatic cancer may include a lump in the abdomen, pain in the back and belly, and nausea or vomiting. Other signs might include fatty or oily stools, loss of appetite, and jaundice (yellowing in the skin and eyes). These symptoms are caused by a build-up of bilirubin in the blood, which is released when the pancreatic cancer grows and begins to press on nerves in the area.


In the study, researchers looked at data from over 3,700 people referred to hospital for pancreatic cancer. They discovered that people with jaundice or a decreased appetite as their first symptom were diagnosed more promptly than those who had indigestion or other symptoms as their first symptom. They also found that the time to diagnosis was longer for those with a history of diabetes or mental health problems.




Diagnosis


A diagnosis of pancreatic cancer is a difficult and challenging time for patients, their families and healthcare professionals. It is an aggressive disease that can spread quickly to other parts of the body, making it difficult for doctors to treat. There is no screening test for the disease, and many people are not diagnosed until it is in an advanced stage. Those who are at high risk of developing the disease can get regular screenings from their gastroenterologist to help detect the condition early.


The majority of pancreatic cancers are sporadic, meaning that the genetic changes that cause them develop on their own and are not passed on from one generation to the next. However, there are also cases of hereditary




pancreatic cancer, which can be caused by specific gene mutations that run in a person’s family.


Patients with pancreatic cancer often present with abdominal pain, jaundice, weight loss and other symptoms such as acholic stools or dark urine. The pain may be sharp or dull, and it is usually on the back side of the abdomen. Jaundice is typically due to obstruction of the common bile duct by a tumor in the head of the pancreas.


Treatment


The pancreas is a large organ behind the stomach that makes enzymes and hormones such as insulin. Cancer of the pancreas can interfere with the way it functions and cause symptoms like stomach or back pain, jaundice (yellowing of the skin), loss of appetite, and diabetes. It’s important to see a doctor if you have any of these symptoms. The earlier cancer is detected, the more likely it is to be treatable.




Some people with pancreatic cancer develop a blood clot in their legs, called a deep vein thrombosis. These clots can break off and travel to the lungs, causing a life-threatening condition called a pulmonary embolism. People with some types of cancer have a higher risk of getting this condition.



Pancreatic cancer is a difficult disease to diagnose. Many patients are diagnosed at an advanced stage and have few treatment options. The survival rate is low because the disease usually spreads before it’s detected.





Pancreatic cancer is rarely detected in its early stages. There is no screening test for it and most patients are diagnosed when they develop late stage disease.


Pancreatic cancer is more common in people who smoke and have a family history of the disease. It also affects people with a history of chronic pancreatitis.


Number of patients in the world



Pancreatic cancer is one of the most lethal cancers because it usually goes undiagnosed until it is in an advanced stage when it is often too late for treatment to be effective. This is partly due to the fact that the early symptoms of pancreatic cancer are not always obvious and that people often ignore them or misdiagnose them as other conditions, such as indigestion or chronic pain.



In the United States, more than 5,000 people die of pancreatic cancer each year, which is a staggering number given that it only accounts for 3% of new cases of cancer each year. Despite this low incidence, it is the fourth leading cause of cancer death and is highly lethal, with the 5-year survival rate for patients with pancreatic cancer being only about 9%.



The disease tends to develop slowly and sporadically, making it difficult to diagnose, especially in the early stages. In addition, symptoms tend to be mild and come and go, meaning that people often dismiss them as minor issues. By the time they are more noticeable, the tumour is usually already in an advanced stage and has spread to other organs, making it more difficult to treat.




Cancer is a disease that occurs when cells grow uncontrollably and form tumors. These tumors can spread to nearby organs and blood vessels. Cancer is a complex process that occurs because of changes (mutations) in the genes. The genes contain the instructions for how a cell should behave. Mutations in the genes cause the cells to grow and divide without control. They also prevent the cells from dying normally. Eventually, the cancerous cells can cause the body to produce too much hormones or digestive juices, which affect how the person feels and what they eat.




Symptoms of pancreatic cancer vary depending on the type and stage of the cancer. Many people do not have any symptoms at all. Others experience pain in the abdomen or back, loss of appetite, and weight loss. In some cases, the cancer can cause a blockage in the bile duct, which causes jaundice (yellowing of the skin and eyes). Other signs of jaundice include itchy skin, dark urine, and fatty or oily stools.




The pancreas is a large gland that produces digestive juices and hormones. Pancreatic cancer occurs when abnormal cells in the pancreas start to grow and form a growth (tumour). The tumour may then spread to nearby blood vessels or organs such as the small intestine or stomach. There are two main types of pancreatic cancer; exocrine pancreatic cancer which accounts for 95 percent of cases and endocrine pancreatic cancer, also known as pancreatic neuroendocrine tumours or islet cell tumors. The most common symptom of pancreatic cancer is tummy (abdominal) pain that goes on for hours or days. Some people also experience nausea and vomiting. The pancreas is located in the abdomen, high up in the body between the ribs and just behind the belly button.




Symptoms vary depending on where the cancer is in the pancreas (head, body and tail). The most common warning sign is itchy skin that doesn't go away.


Weight loss


People who have pancreatic cancer often have unexplained weight loss. This is because tumors may block the flow of digestive juices, leading to a loss of appetite and weight loss. They may also experience bloating, stomach pain and indigestion.


In addition, some people with pancreatic cancer develop jaundice, which is a yellowing of the skin and whites of the eyes. This happens when the tumor blocks the bile duct, which normally carries bile from the liver into the small intestine.


In acinar cell carcinoma, which occurs in the lining of the ducts within the pancreas, weight loss is usually the first symptom. This is because it affects the ability to digest fat in food. This can lead to fatty stools, which are oily and have a foul smell.


Abdominal pain


Pain in the abdomen can be caused by many things, including indigestion and stomach viruses. But it can also be a sign of a serious medical condition. If you have severe or long-lasting abdominal pain, talk to your doctor.


If cancer develops in the ducts that carry pancreatic juices, it may block these fluids and prevent them from flowing into the intestine. This can lead to a loss of appetite and weight loss, especially when the pancreatic enzymes that break down fat are not released.


Cancer in the head or body of the pancreas can also cause blood to form clots in a vein, called a DVT. This can cause pain, swelling and a warm feeling in the affected area.


Abdominal swelling


A swollen abdomen is one of the first signs of pancreatic cancer, and can make your tummy feel tight and uncomfortable. Your doctor may put a local anaesthetic on the area to numb it, then drain fluid from your tummy with a needle.


They might notice that your urine is darker than usual and your stool is lighter. This is because the cancer can block bile from reaching your digestive tract, which leads to a buildup of bilirubin.


Your doctor can also find out if your swollen tummy is caused by pancreatic cancer by examining your gallbladder, and a sample of your blood for signs of jaundice. They might also refer you to a specialist for further tests. Pancreatic neuroendocrine tumours (NETs) start in the endocrine cells of your pancreas, which produce hormones. They have different symptoms than exocrine cancers, which start in the pancreatic duct.


Diarrhea


In its earliest stages, pancreatic cancer rarely causes any symptoms. When they do appear, they’re often vague and easy to dismiss as something less serious.


If you’re losing weight, experiencing abdominal pain or noticing changes in your poo, visit your GP. They’ll ask about your general health and refer you to a specialist if they suspect anything is wrong.


One symptom that could indicate a tumor is diarrhoea that’s oily or fatty. This occurs when a tumour blocks the flow of bile from the liver into the gallbladder, which normally breaks down fat in food and helps with digestion. This can also cause a yellowing of the skin and whites of the eyes, called jaundice. This can also cause a change in the color of urine and stool.


Jaundice


Jaundice (yellowing of the skin and whites of the eyes) may develop when a tumor blocks the liver’s bile duct. This causes a build-up of bilirubin, which normally exits the liver into the small intestine. This symptom can also be caused by other illnesses that affect the liver or bile duct. Cancers in the head of the pancreas are more likely to cause jaundice than those in the body or tail.


Usually, the bilirubin in the bloodstream will cause darker urine and paler stool. It can also prevent enzymes from the digestive tract from breaking down fat, leading to greasy, pale stools.


While these symptoms can occur with many different conditions, if you experience them over time and they get worse, it’s important to see your GP. Finding the cause earlier can help with treatment and improve survival.


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