If you have recently discovered that you have one of the factors associated with a higher risk of pancreatic cancer, then it may put your mind at ease to find out more about pancreatic cancer symptoms and signs. Importantly, pancreatic cancer, like many other forms of cancer, does not usually result in any specific symptoms during the earliest stages. In fact, this is one of the reasons why this disease can be so hard for doctors and healthcare providers to diagnose and detect. However, as the cancer begins to grow and develop, pancreatic cancer signs and symptoms can emerge, and the warning signs that you experience will depend on a number of factors, including the type of pancreatic cancer, and where it is located in the pancreas.

Recognizing Pancreatic Cancer Signs and Symptoms:

Importantly, any of the symptoms that you do experience regarding pancreatic cancer can be quite vague and may come and go, rather than being persistent for a long period of time. One common example that is often cited by doctors is abdominal pain. Frequently, in cases of pancreatic cancer, patients experience occasional discomfort in their abdomen which gradually becomes more severe and frequent over time. Of course, pain in the abdomen is a very vague symptom which can apply to a wide range of other common illnesses, including hepatitis, gallstones, gastritis, and pancreatitis. This means that people may approach their doctors for a number of different tests before they even begin to consider pancreatic cancer as a possibility.

When looking for warning signs of pancreatic cancer, it’s important that you don’t jump to conclusions, as any of the symptoms typically associated with pancreatic cancer can also apply to various other diseases. However, if you have unexplained symptoms for an extended period of time, it’s important to see your GP so that you can be referred for tests and find out what may be wrong. It can also help to note down how often you get the symptoms, and talk about anything unusual you might experience,  even if the matter appears to be unrelated.

Most Common Symptoms to Look Out For:

Importantly, the symptoms you experience will change depending on where your cancer is located. For example, pancreatic cancer in the head of the pancreas often causes symptoms like jaundice, dark urine, weight loss, itching, vomiting, back pain, abdominal pain and even enlarged lymph nodes in the neck.

On the other hand, pancreatic cancer which is located primarily in the tail or body of the pancreas typically causes back pain, stomach pain, and weight loss. Often, patients find that their symptoms begin to appear earlier if their particular cancer is located in the head of the pancreas, rather than in the body or the tail.

Another thing to keep in mind is that because pancreatic cancer tends to develop around the digestive system, gastrointestinal symptoms are often apparent such as diarrhea, nausea, and bloating. Indeed, the symptoms of pancreatic cancer can primarily exist within the stomach, or may move throughout the entire body, leading to issues like a loss of appetite.