What Are The Other Signs And Symptoms Of Pancreatic Cancer
The signs and symptoms of pancreatic cancer may also be found in other conditions of the digestive system. These include
- Yellowish discoloration of the skin and eyes
Unusual signs include
- Fatigue: fatigue is a common symptom found in other types of cancer as well.
- The new and unusual onset of diabetes: Pancreatic cancers may destroy the insulin-producing cells. This can increase your blood sugar levels and lead to newly diagnosed diabetes. If you already suffer from diabetes which is under control, you may suddenly develop an uncontrolled form of diabetes.
Diabetes As A Risk Factor
Having diabetes also may increase your risk of developing pancreatic cancer.
If you have type 2 diabetes or have had diabetes for several years, you may be more at risk than those with type 1 diabetes, according to the American Cancer Society. Scientists dont know exactly why pancreatic cancer is more common in diabetics in general. But its important to keep in mind that having diabetes is not a sure indication that youll develop pancreatic cancer.
Expert cancer care
Ignoring Back Pain Can Be A Big Pancreatic Cancer Mistake Doctors Say
The symptoms of pancreatic cancer may be subtle, varied, orin the early stages of the diseasenon-existent. Thats why pancreatic cancer is the most lethal cancer in the human body, with overall five-year survival rates at just about seven percent despite all the advances over the past decades, according to the Mayo Clinic News Network. There are no telltale signs for pancreatic cancer, and symptoms like weight loss, abdominal pain, jaundice, and appetite loss are nonspecific.
Thats why knowing which symptoms to watch for, no matter how unrelated they may seem, is crucialas is being aware of any factors that may put you at a higher risk for getting developing pancreatic cancer. Read on to find out why back pain might be a warning sign of this deadly disease, and when to get it checked out.
Don’t Miss: Liver Cirrhosis Leg Swelling Treatment
Similar Articles Being Viewed By Others
Carousel with three slides shown at a time. Use the Previous and Next buttons to navigate three slides at a time, or the slide dot buttons at the end to jump three slides at a time.
01 April 2022
Minji Han, Thi Phuong Thao Tran & Jin-Kyoung Oh
27 April 2020
Hongcheng Wang, Jiazhe Liu, Xinyu Huang
08 December 2021
Pengcheng Yang, Yongqiang Zheng, Xiaohua Hou
Diagnosing Cancer And Back Pain
A doctor will consider your symptoms and medical history when diagnosing potential lower back pain causes. Its important to include if you have a history of cancer or a family history of cancer.
Because cancer is a rare cause of lower back pain in those who dont already have cancer, a doctor may recommend other treatments before doing a full cancer work-up.
However, if pain persists after physical therapy or anti-inflammatory medications, a doctor may order imaging studies and blood testing. These tests can help identify if there are potential cancer markers that are causing the lower back pain.
Also Check: What Can Cause Stomach Pain And Nausea
The Pancreas Performs Important Functions
“The pancreas is located to the back of the abdomen behind the stomach laying on the spine, in what is called the retroperitoneal location,” says James Farrell, Professor of Medicine and Director at the Yale Center for Pancreatic Disease at Yale Cancer Center and Smilow Cancer Hospital. The pancreas has an exocrine gland and an endocrine gland, which perform digestive and hormonal functions. The exocrine function produces enzymes that help with digestion, according to the Cleveland Clinic. The endocrine function is to send out hormones that control the amount of sugar in your bloodstream.ae0fcc31ae342fd3a1346ebb1f342fcb
“Pancreatic cancer typically starts in the ducts of the pancreas,” Chee-Chee Stucky, MD, tells the Mayo Clinic. “Small changes in the cellular DNA result in uncontrolled multiplication and accumulation of cells in clusters called tumors. If untreated, these cancer cells can spread outside of the pancreas to other parts of the body.”
Symptoms Of Rare Pancreatic Cancers
Islet cell tumors, also called neuroendocrine tumors, arise from the cells in the pancreas that make hormones. Islet cell tumors account for less than 5% of all pancreas tumors.
Like pancreatic adenocarcinoma, islet cell tumors may cause abdominal pain, weight loss, nausea, and vomiting. Hormones released by an islet cell tumor can also cause symptoms: These include
- Insulinomas : sweating, anxiety, lightheadedness, and fainting from low blood sugar
- Glucagonomas : diarrhea, excessive thirst or urination, weight loss
- Gastrinomas : abdominal pain, stomach ulcers that can bleed, reflux, weight loss
- Somatostatinomas : diarrhea, weight loss, abdominal pain, foul-smelling fatty stools
- VIPomas : watery diarrhea, abdominal cramping, facial flushing
Read Also: Sharp Pain In Lower Left Stomach
The Study Has Found That There Is A Strong Link Between Sitting For Long Hours Leading To A Sedentary Lifestyle And Death Due To Cancer
Written by Satata Karmakar|Published : December 9, 2020 10:42 AM IST
Working from home has become the new norm in the pandemic, which means work is not restricted to office hours alone. Prolonged sitting in the wrong posture in front of laptops and computers is leading to several problems including back pain, eye strain during this pandemic period. While back pain itself can be discomforting, it could be related to more implications, including even pancreatic cancer. Yes, you read it right, your constant back pain could be the first sign of pancreatic cancer.
A recent study published in the medical journal JAMA Internal Medicine found that there is a strong link between sitting for long hours, leading to a sedentary lifestyle, and death due to cancer.
Working from home is very different from working in an office. At home, we tend to sit on the bed, use unsupportive chairs while working but infrastructure in the office is set up to support long working hours, Dr Saurabh S Mukewar, Consultant Gastroenterologist, Midas Multispeciality Hospital, Nagpur quoted as saying.
Warning Symptoms Of Pancreatic Cancer
Signs and symptoms of pancreatic cancer often don’t occur until the disease is advanced. They may include:
#ABDOMINAL PAIN: In the majority of the cases, the symptoms can be as mild and generic as abdominal pain, weight loss, or development of diabetes, etc making it difficult to diagnose at the initial stage.
#JAUNDICE: Pancreatic cancer can also be asymptomatic at an early stage while jaundice may appear in an advanced stage of the disease. In such cases, when patients suffer from jaundice they can feel itchiness all over the body due to the deposit of bile salt crystals under the skin.
#LOSS OF APPETITE: One of the most warning signs of pancreatic cancer is the loss of appetite. Never ignore this sign
Recommended Reading: Er Or Urgent Care For Gallbladder
You Experience Abdominal Or Back Pain
Place the tip of your finger on the top of your abdomen, just below the breastbone. Then imagine your finger pointing straight back through your body to the spine. Thats a common location that pancreatic cancer patients report feeling pain, says Dr. DiMaio. The pain is hard to describe, but a dull, internal pain in this area, or radiating around the sides of your abdomen to the back, is a tip-off and you should get it checked out, he says. Cancers that start in the body or tail of the pancreas can press on nearby organs, causing pain. If the cancer spreads to the nerves surrounding the pancreas, this can lead to back pain.
Is Back Pain Constant With Pancreatic Cancer
Pancreatic cancer is cancer that begins in the tissues of the pancreas, an organ located behind the stomach. Pancreatic cancer occurs when the healthy pancreatic cells grow out of control, forming a tumor.
Pancreatic cancer spreads quickly and has a poor prognosis because it is often detected late, there are no symptoms until it has spread to other organs.
Common symptoms of pancreatic cancer are
- Dull pain in the upper abdomen and/or middle or upper back, which is probably caused by the tumor irritating the nerves in that area or pressing on the spine.
- The back pain with pancreatic cancer may initially come and go, but it is aggravated during eating.
- The pain eventually becomes persistent. The back pain caused by pancreatic cancer can be temporarily relieved by bending over unlike a typical back pain caused by sore muscles and other muscle or spine injuries.
- The abdominal and back pain is typically not related to activity or any food. Hence, new onset of back pain should be evaluated by a doctor.
Don’t Miss: Stomach Pain An Hour After Eating
Gallbladder Or Liver Swelling
When a tumor blocks the bile duct, the gallbladder may fill up with excess bile and grow. If this is the case, the doctor may be able to find the swelling during a routine exam. Otherwise, these tumors may appear in imaging tests such as a computed tomography scan or magnetic resonance imaging .
The liver may also swell, particularly if the cancer has spread there. This may also be detected through imaging.
Signs Of Pancreatic Cancer
Pancreatic cancer can have symptoms similar to viral hepatitis or gallstones, or no symptoms at all. Because of this, its often diagnosed after it has spread. Symptoms may include:
- Pain in the upper abdomen, often with pain in the back directly behind the upper abdomen
- Unexplained weight loss
- Floating or foul-smelling stools
- Ascites, a condition in which excessive fluid builds up in the abdominal cavity causing swelling and distention of the belly and, sometimes, pain and difficulty breathing
- New or sudden worsening of diabetes
- Difficulty swallowing, which becomes worse over time
- Excessive burping
Recommended Reading: Cancer Lump On Labia Majora
Recommended Reading: How To Heal Gut After Antibiotics
What Is The Life Expectancy Of Someone With Pancreatic Cancer
Pancreatic cancer is usually not found until it has become advanced. Therefore, it is one of the leading causes of cancer deaths. After one year, the pancreatic cancer survival rate is about 20%. After five years, that number drops to about 6%. Every year, about 3,000 more people die of pancreatic cancer than die of breast cancer in the United States.
If surgery can be performed and you have a section of your pancreas removed, the average survival rate is 18 to 20 months. The five-year survival rate in such cases rises to 10 to 25%.
Dont Miss: What Happens After Chemo For Prostate Cancer
Can Pancreas Cause Back Pain
Belly or back pain Pain in the abdomen or back is common in pancreatic cancer. Cancers that start in the body or tail of the pancreas can grow fairly large and start to press on other nearby organs, causing pain. The cancer may also spread to the nerves surrounding the pancreas, which often causes back pain.
Read Also: When To Go To The Er For Gallbladder
Personal Experiences Of Symptoms
”My stools were pale and refused to flush. I didn’t think much of it as I didn’t feel unwell at all, but I decided to go and see the doctor just to be sure.
”I realised I was losing weight a lot quicker than I had expected, and I began to be concerned. I had also noticed my urine was getting very dark and I had a pain in my back, and my stools really werent normal I just knew something wasnt right.
How Do I Know If I Have This
Back pain is experienced by people in the population and having mid-back pain does not mean you have pancreatic cancer. However, if you are experiencing mid back pain that is not normal for you, there is no harm in checking with your GP especially if you are experiencing any of the other symptoms described here.
Read Also: Best Foods To Eat With Pancreatitis
What Is Pancreatic Cancer
The word cancer means an uncontrolled and unregulated growth of cells. When cancer starts in the pancreas, it is called pancreatic cancer. The pancreas is an organ located in the upper left abdomen, behind the stomach. This organ serves several important functions, particularly regulating digestion and blood sugar levels. The pancreas has four main parts: head, neck, body and tail. Almost 75 percent of all pancreatic cancers occur within the head or neck of the pancreas, 15 to 20 percent occur in the body of the pancreas and 5 to 10 percent occur in the tail. When cancer develops in the pancreas, the rapidly-dividing cancer cells form a mass or tumor that can spread to other sites in the body. The cancerous mass deprives the normal cells of nutrition and space, causing a disturbance in the functioning of the pancreas.
According to the American Cancer Society, about 60,430 people in the US will be diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in 2021. Also, pancreatic cancer will cause about 48,220 deaths in the US in 2021.
Your Stools Are Changing
Many pancreatic cancer patients have diarrhea, constipation or both. Diarrhea consisting of loose, watery, oily or foul-smelling stools can be caused by insufficient amounts of pancreatic enzymes in the intestines. Constipation is also a common problem. If the digestive system works too slowly, it can cause stools to become dry, hard and difficult to pass.
Recommended Reading: Best Vitamins For Kidneys And Liver
Diabetes And Pancreatic Cancer
While less common, developing diabetes may be a sign of pancreatic cancer, especially in patients who are older and have diabetes come on suddenly.
Sometimes, pancreatic cancer may damage the cells in your pancreas that help produce insulin , leading to high blood sugar and diabetes.
The cancer may not always alter blood sugar levels enough to show signs of diabetes, but if it does, symptoms may include increased thirst, hunger and urination.
Pancreatic Cancer Is Difficult To Diagnose Early
Pancreatic cancer is difficult to detect and diagnose for the following reasons:
- There arent any noticeable signs or symptoms in the earlystages of pancreatic cancer.
- The signs and symptoms of pancreatic cancer, when present, are like the signs and symptoms of many other illnesses.
- The pancreas is hidden behind other organs such as the stomach, small intestine,liver, gallbladder, spleen, and bile ducts.
Read Also: Best Kitten Food For Sensitive Stomach
How To Diagnose Pancreatic Cancer
It is believed that there is no reliable test available to diagnose pancreatic cancer in early stage. Diagnosis on pancreatic imaging can be done through USG, CT scan, MRI, etc. However, to treat cancer and confirm it one needs to get a biopsy done. It is very difficult to approach & biopsy it via conventional methods because pancreas is located deep inside our abdomen behind various vital organs. This is where medical advancement like endoscopic ultrasound immensely helps to make the job simpler and easier so that the disease is diagnosed at a very early stage, said Dr Saurabh.
A minimally invasive procedure known as cholangioscopy which allows direct visualization of the pancreatic ducts is used now. Combining cholangioscopy with endoscopic ultrasound helps a gastroenterologist to get a clear understanding of the pancreatic duct. It is an important diagnostic tool for confirming as well as ruling out cancer of the pancreas.
The minimally invasive procedure also helps to prevent the spread of cancer in surrounding organs without undergoing complex biopsies.
Causes Of Pancreatic Cancer Pain
It’s common to have a dull pain in your upper belly and back that comes and goes. This is caused by a tumor in your pancreas that presses on your spine.
The cancer often spreads to the nerves that surround your pancreas, which also leads to back pain. It can feel worse when you lie down, but it may get better when you lean forward.
One good strategy to manage your pain is to keep track of it with a journal. Write down where it hurts and how it feels. For example, note things about your pain such as:
- How it feels, like throbbing or dull
- Intensity on a scale of 1 to 10
- How often you get it
- Time of day it happens
- Better or worse when you eat or drink
- What makes it improve
This information will help your doctor understand the cause and figure out how to treat it.
Don’t Miss: Colon Cancer Spread To Liver
Five Early Signs Of Pancreatic Cancer As Man Battles Disease For A Second Time
A pancreatic cancer survivor battling the disease for a second time has shared the early signs people of all ages should know.
Charles Czajkowski, 63, a business development manager for a geotechnical company from Surbiton, Kingston, has declared war on pancreatic cancer after a five-year ordeal with two rounds of the disease which also caused the death of his mother Romaulda, aged 78, in 1999.
Czajkowski, who is hoping treatment he received through his wifes private healthcare package will save his life, has urged the government to provide greater funding for the condition.
After his health began to decline in 2017, Czajkowski faced a series of delays to his diagnosis and treatment through the NHS until he accessed Bupa healthcare through the workplace of his wife of 16 years, Jackie.
After initial treatment success, in May 2022 Czajkowskis cancer returned and private oncologists are now attempting to use a series of drugs, some of which are unavailable on the NHS, to save his life.
Now working to fight the illness and help patients to spot it early, Czajkowski is on the scientific advisory board for Pancreatic Cancer UK.
Its given me control, Czajkowski said. Pancreatic cancer has declared war on me so to get back at it, Ive declared war on pancreatic cancer by being able to help educate and save other peoples lives.
Its an awareness battle because pancreatic cancer UK hasnt had much air time and hasnt had the investment.