Pancreatic Cancer Symptoms
Pancreatic cancer shows few signs until the disease has reached an advanced stage. Here are the common symptoms:
- Abdominal pain
- Jaundice (yellow skin)
- Back pain
- Digestive issues
- Weight loss
- Changes in stool (light-colored stools)
- Dark urine
Pancreatic cancer rarely occurs before the age of 40, and more than half of cases of pancreatic adenocarcinoma occur in those over 70. Risk factors for pancreatic cancer include tobacco smoking, obesity, diabetes, and certain rare genetic conditions. About 25% of cases are linked to smoking,and 5–10% are linked to inherited genes. Pancreatic cancer is usually diagnosed by a combination of medical imaging techniques such as ultrasoundor computed tomography, blood tests, and examination of tissue samples (biopsy). The disease is divided into stages, from early (stage I) to late (stage IV). Screening the general population has not been found to be effective. [Source: Wikipedia]
Diagnostic Tests for Pancreatic Cancer
Pancreatic cancer is difficult to diagnose because the pancreas is located deep inside the body and because the symptoms only appear very gradually.
Diagnostic tests include imaging tests (CT, MRI, ultrasound, and PET) and blood tests and tissue biopsies.
The Pancreatic Cancer Action Network (pancan.org) offers a free pancreatic cancer risk assessment.
Treatment Options for Pancreatic Cancer
Pancreatic cancer treatment options include:
- ChemotherapyRradiation therapy
- Ablation & embolization and
- Complementary therapies
Pancreatic Cancer Resources
A person with a family history of pancreatic cancer or pancreatitis experiencing the above symptoms should consult their family physician or medical care provider.