Pancreatic And Liver Cancer Symptoms


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Battling pancreatic cancer | Doctor explains the disease
  • the whites of your eyes or your skin turn yellow
  • you’re being sick for more than 2 days
  • you have diarrhoea for more than 7 days
  • you have symptoms that you are worried about, but are not sure where to get help

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Seeking Treatment For Pancreatic Cancer

If you experience one or more pancreatic cancer symptoms, it does not necessarily mean that you have pancreatic cancer. Because there are many other common medical issues that can cause these or similar symptoms, an accurate diagnosis is essential. Therefore, you should follow up promptly with a health care provider who can evaluate your condition and recommend an appropriate treatment.

Medically reviewed by Aamir Dam, MD.

Disorders Of The Pancreas

Common conditions that affect the pancreas include:

In addition, some liver and pancreas disorders increase your risk for more serious liver and pancreas conditions. For example, pancreatitis increases your risk for pancreatic cancer.

If youre unsure about your liver and pancreas disorders risk, its best to talk with a doctor. They can help you assess your risk and make a plan to address it.

The exact diagnostic process will depend on the disorder your doctor suspects. However, there are some common steps youll find during most liver and pancreas disorder testing. These include:

  • a review of your medical history and your family medical history
  • a physical exam

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Common Symptoms Of Pancreatic Cancer

The following are the most common signs of exocrine pancreatic cancerspecifically for pancreatic adenocarcinoma. This cancer starts in the ducts of the pancreas and represents more than 90 percent of all diagnoses. Neuroendocrine tumors are much less common and may present different symptoms.

Patients may experience symptoms differently and should not expect to manifest all symptoms listed.

What Exactly Is Pancreatic Cancer

Pancreatic Cancer: Symptoms and Treatment  Healthsoul

The pancreas is a gland organ thats located in the abdominal region. Meanwhile, pancreatic cancer is a disease that involves cancer cells forming in the organs tissues. The gland is located in front of a persons spine and behind their stomach. The job of the pancreas is to make digestive juices/hormones for controlling glucose .

There are different cells that produce juices and hormones. In most cases, pancreatic cancers are in the hormone-making cells. However, sometimes they form in the cells that make digestive juices.

There are various pancreatic cancer symptoms that are linked to serious disease. They include:

  • Loss of appetite
  • Long-term diabetes

The diagnosis process involves a physical exam and a review of the patients medical history. The physical will likely order many tests to figure out the cause of the symptoms. They include X-ray/CT/MRI ultrasound. The doctor might also order a biopsy to examine a small piece of the pancreas tissue to determine if its been affected by the disease.

There are various treatments for pancreatic cancer. They include radiation, chemotherapy, and surgery. Radiation involves X-rays to kill cancer cells, chemotherapy includes strong drugs for cancer treatment, and surgery involves removing the cancer tumors.

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Types Of Pancreatic Cancer

When cells inside your pancreas grow abnormally, its called pancreatic cancer. Cells clump into masses called tumors. There are several types of pancreatic cancer. Each type is diagnosed and treated differently. It is critical to have a skilled and experienced pathologist determine what type of pancreatic cancer you have.

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Frequently Asked Questions

  • Do pancreatic cancer symptoms differ in males and females?
  • The pancreatic cancer symptoms in females and in males are usually the same. However, the severity of these symptoms in males and females may differ, and their response to the treatment can also differ.

  • Can pancreatic cancer be cured?
  • Yes, pancreatic cancer can be cured if it is diagnosed at an early stage.

  • Can I live a normal life after my pancreas is removed?
  • Yes, you can live a normal life after pancreas removal. However, you will need to take more care of your blood sugar levels, as removing the pancreas puts you at a higher risk of developing diabetes.

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    Pancreatic Cancer Metasised To Liver

    My husband is 56, he was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, on 1st June 2016 . We were told that it was inoperable and incurable but he would be given the option of chemo. He had 5 cycles of Folfirinox however a recent scan revealed that the chemo hadn’t worked and the tumours had increased in size. He was offered an alternative chemotherapy – Gemcitabine – and has had 3 treatments so far. He is extremely thin as he finds it very difficult to eat. He has some food – tends to be ice cream or sugary sweet desserts and he has two fortisip protein drinks each day.

    We have three children 17, 18 and 23 who each deal with the situation differently. We are very strong and remain positive however the question of ‘how long have we got?’ Is like a black cloud that just won’t go away. We try to do as much as we can but sometimes the pain is too bad and we lose days. The chemo doesn’t give him many side effects, his pain is the biggest problem.

    In the original consultation meeting, the oncologist gave a prognosis of 3-6 months of the first chemo worked, and it didn’t. We’re now in the 5th month and although my husband is fighting hard, the time line haunts me.

    Id love to hear from anyone going through the same journey.

    Thanks, Gill

    Hepatocellular Carcinoma With Pancreatic Mass As The First Symptom: A Case Report And Literature Review

    6 Warning Signs of Pancreatic Cancer

    Yue Zhang1,2#, Tao Han1#, Di Wang3#, Gao Li1,4#, Yanming Zhang1,2, Xiaodan Yang1, Tingsong Chen5, Zhendong Zheng1

    1Department of Oncology, Cancer Center, General Hospital of Northern Theater Command , 2Postgraduate College, Jinzhou Medical University, Jinzhou 121001, General Hospital of Northern Theater Command , The Seventh Peoples Hospital of Shanghai University of Traditional Chinese Medicine , China

    #These authors contributed equally to this work.

    Correspondence to:

    Keywords: Hepatocellular carcinoma pancreatic cancer pancreas metastasis diagnosis case report

    Submitted Oct 18, 2019. Accepted for publication Nov 05, 2019.

    doi: 10.21037/apm.2019.11.14

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    Diagnosis Of Hepatocellular Carcinoma

    Your doctor will give you a physical exam, which includes feeling if your liver is swollen or painful. They’ll also ask you about your symptoms. If your doctor suspects hepatocellular carcinoma, they’ll order one or more of these tests:

    • Blood test blood with high levels of a protein called AFP may mean liver cancer.
    • Imaging tests such as a CT scan or ultrasound of your abdomen create pictures your doctor can use to look for tumors in your liver.
    • Liver biopsy a lab specialist tests a small sample of your liver tissue for cancer cells.

    Treatments For Hepatocellular Carcinoma

    You have a lot of treatment choices. The type that’s best for you depends on how far along the cancer is, its location, how healthy you are and how well your liver is working. Here are some options:

    • Surgery the surgeon removes the tumor or part of your liver if the tumor hasn’t spread yet.
    • Chemotherapy or radiation chemicals or powerful rays directed right at the cancer cells might kill them your doctor may also use chemotherapy before surgery to make the tumor smaller before removing it.
    • Liver transplant this is the complete removal and replacement of your liver if your cancer hasn’t spread to other parts of your body.
    • Heat or cold ablation with this type of treatment, extreme heat or extreme freezing are used to kill the cancer cells.
    • Percutaneous ethanol injection a needle injects alcohol into the tumor to try to destroy it.

    It is possible for hepatocellular carcinoma to become serious enough that there is no cure. If so, your doctor may use drugs and other therapies to help you live longer and improve your quality of life as much as possible.

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    Symptoms That Resemble Other Conditions

    The symptoms of pancreatic cancer may be similar to those of other conditions or medical problems, which can delay diagnosis even further. Upon diagnosis, patients often look back and start to make a connection between various symptoms that seemed unrelated or unremarkable at the time.

    Listen to your body and consult with your doctor about any new symptoms you may be experiencing, even if you think they can be explained. While cancer is probably not the culprit, diagnostic tests can help to confirm the case.

    How Is Pancreatic Cancer Diagnosed

    Liver Cancer Stages

    Its difficult to detect pancreatic cancer in the early stages. This is because healthcare providers cannot feel the pancreas in a routine exam. If your provider suspects that you may have pancreatic cancer, they may order imaging tests to take pictures of the internal organs. An endoscopic ultrasound can also be done.

    An endoscopic ultrasound is a thin tube with a camera at the tip that is passed through the mouth and into the stomach. The ultrasound probe at the end of the endoscope allows imaging of the pancreas through the stomach wall. If necessary, an ultrasound-guided biopsy from the pancreas can be obtained during the procedure.

    A blood test can find a substance called a tumor marker. For pancreatic cancer, high levels of carbohydrate antigen 19-9 a type of protein released by pancreatic cancer cells might indicate a tumor.

    Everyone who is newly diagnosed with pancreatic cancer should talk to their doctor about doing genetic counseling and testing to see if there is a hereditary reason they developed pancreatic cancer. This is based on recommendations from two of the largest cancer organizations, the National Comprehensive Cancer Network and the American Society of Clinical Oncology .

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    Pancreatic Cancer Stage 0

    This is the earliest stage of pancreatic cancer, though it may not necessarily involve cancer. It just means that abnormal cells have been detected, and they could potentially become cancerous in the future. This stage doesnt involve any symptoms.

    Treating pancreatic cancer involves two main goals: to kill cancerous cells and prevent the cancer from spreading. The most appropriate treatment option will depend on the stage of the cancer.

    The main treatment options include:

    • Surgery. Surgical treatment of pancreatic cancer involves removing portions of the pancreas . While this can eliminate the original tumor, it wont remove cancer thats spread to other areas. As a result, surgery usually isnt recommended for advanced-stage pancreatic cancer.
    • Radiation therapy. X-rays and other high-energy beams are used to kill cancer cells.
    • Chemotherapy. Anticancer drugs are used to kill cancer cells and help prevent their future growth.
    • Targeted therapy. Medications and antibodies are used to individually target cancer cells without harming other cells, which can happen with chemotherapy and radiation therapy.
    • Immunotherapy. Various methods are used to trigger your immune system to target the cancer.

    In some cases, a doctor might recommend combining multiple treatment options. For example, chemotherapy might be done before surgery.

    For advanced-stage pancreatic cancer, treatment options might focus more on pain relief and keeping symptoms as manageable as possible.

    Blood Tests For Tumor Markers

    Tumor markers are substances that are either made by cancer cells or made by your body in response to cancer. Some types of tumor markers can be found in the blood and could indicate the presence of cancer.

    The two tumor markers most commonly used to help detect pancreatic cancer are called CA19-9 and CEA. These are proteins that, at higher levels, can be detected in the blood of some people with pancreatic cancer.

    However, not everyone with pancreatic cancer has high levels of these proteins. Also, other health conditions can also cause high levels of these proteins.

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    Swelling Of The Liver Or Gallbladder

    Gallbladder growth is possible when a tumor clogs the bile duct. Its possible that if this is the case, doctors may be able to spot the swelling during an examination. Otherwise, imaging procedures such as a CT scan or an MRI could reveal these cancers as well .

    If cancer has migrated to the liver, the organ may also enlarge. Imaging may also be used to detect this.

    Is A Tumor In The Tail Of The Pancreas Always Cancerous

    Pancreatic Cancer in Patients With Chronic Liver Disease

    Noncancerous pancreatic masses are called benign tumors and dont invade surrounding tissues. They still require a diagnosis from a doctor to rule out cancer.

    Noncancerous tumors may also need to be monitored, as some can become cancerous.

    Benign tumors may require removal if theyre causing symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, or pain.

    Pancreatic cancer in the tail often isnt diagnosed until the cancer has spread too far for surgical removal. Early stage pancreatic cancer often doesnt cause any symptoms, and when symptoms are present, theyre often general.

    Heres a look at the of pancreatic cancer in the head compared with the tail:

    Head of pancreas

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    Weakness Confusion Sweating And Fast Heartbeat

    These are symptoms of insulinomas, or tumors that produce insulin. Too much insulin lowers the level of sugar in your blood. You can faint or even go into a coma if your blood sugar dips too low.

    The pancreas plays an important role in digestion. If you develop a tumor in your pancreas, your digestive system may be affected, which can lead to general weight loss and/or a combination of the symptoms described below.

    Gallbladder Or Liver Enlargement

    If the cancer blocks the bile duct, bile can build up in the gallbladder, making it larger. Sometimes a doctor can feel this during a physical exam. It can also be seen on imaging tests.

    Pancreatic cancer can also sometimes enlarge the liver, especially if the cancer has spread there. The doctor might be able to feel the edge of the liver below the right ribcage on an exam, or the large liver might be seen on imaging tests.

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    Hair Thinning And Hair Loss

    Frequency: Uncommon with drugs used for PC

    Cause: Anti-cancer drugs used in chemotherapy are chosen because they affect cells that divide rapidly, such as cancer cells. They can also impact hair root cells. However, this is uncommon, less than 5%, during pancreatic cancer treatment.

    Intervention: There is no way to prevent hair from falling out as a result of chemotherapy. Hair usually begins growing back within one month after the treatment ends.

    Frequency: Uncommon

    Cause: Radiation therapy can cause hair loss in affected area.

    Intervention: There is no way to prevent hair from falling out as a result of chemotherapy. Hair usually begins growing back within one month after the treatment ends.

    Early Diagnosis Of Liver Disease

    Department of Surgery

    The liver is a football-shaped organ found in the upper right portion of the abdomen. The liver is essential for food digestion and excretion of toxic substances. Liver disease is prone to happen in people aged over 40, especially in men with contributing risk factors including heavy or chronic alcohol use. Over time, damage to the liver results in scarring which can eventually lead to liver failure and liver cancer. Typically, liver disease does not produce any specific signs and symptoms until disease progresses to advanced stages. Relevant symptoms that might indicate liver abnormalities include loss of appetite, unintentional weight loss, bloating or flatulence and chronic constipation. Patients might experience abdominal pain in the upper right abdomen where liver locates. If disease continues to progress, specific symptoms are ascites due to the abnormal buildup of fluid in the abdomen and dark urine color which is unsolved even after loading water as well as jaundice, a yellow discoloration of the skin and the whites of the eyes.

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    Signs And Symptoms Of Liver Cancer

    Having one or more of the symptoms below does not mean you have liver cancer. In fact, many of these symptoms are more likely to be caused by other conditions. Still, if you have any of these symptoms, its important to have them checked by a doctor so that the cause can be found and treated, if needed. Signs and symptoms of liver cancer often do not show up until the later stages of the disease, but sometimes they may show up sooner. If you go to your doctor when you first notice symptoms, your cancer might be diagnosed earlier, when treatment is most likely to be helpful. Some of the most common symptoms of liver cancer are:

    • Feeling very full after a small meal
    • Nausea or vomiting
    • An enlarged liver, felt as fullness under the ribs on the right side
    • An enlarged spleen, felt as fullness under the ribs on the left side
    • Pain in the abdomen or near the right shoulder blade
    • Swelling or fluid build-up in the abdomen
    • Yellowing of the skin and eyes

    Other symptoms can include fever, enlarged veins on the belly that can be seen through the skin, and abnormal bruising or bleeding.

    People who have chronic hepatitis or cirrhosis might feel worse than usual or might just have changes in lab test results, such as liver function tests or alpha-fetoprotein levels.

    Some liver tumors make hormones that act on organs other than the liver. These hormones may cause:

    Last Revised: April 1, 2019

    Pancreatic Cancer Stage 2

    Stage 2 pancreatic cancer is cancer that remains in the pancreas but may have spread to a few nearby lymph nodes or blood vessels.

    This stage is divided into two subcategories, depending on where the cancer is and the size of the tumor:

    • Stage 2A. The tumor is larger than 4 centimeters but hasnt spread to any lymph nodes or nearby tissue.
    • Stage 2B. The tumor has spread to nearby lymph nodes, but not to more than three of them.

    Symptoms of stage 2 pancreatic cancer tend to be very subtle and may include:

    • targeted drug therapies

    Your doctor may use a combination of these approaches to help shrink the tumor and prevent possible metastases.

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