Pancreatic cancer can be hard to spot. With one of the lowest survival rates, knowing the symptoms of pancreatic cancer is very important – the earlier the diagnosis, the more chance there is for successful treatment.
GP, Dr Alexix Missick, who works with UK Meds, warned the condition can often go unnoticed until it reaches an advanced stage, but shared the first symptoms that may appear.
He said: “The first red flag signs of pancreatic cancer are often unexplained weight loss, jaundice and/or back/stomach pain.”
When it comes to unexplained weight loss he explained: “If you find yourself shedding pounds without a clear reason, such as changes in diet or exercise, it’s a cause for concern.
“This weight loss occurs because pancreatic cancer can affect your body’s ability to digest food properly. Weight loss is highly prevalent amongst pancreatic cancer patients.”
If you find that your skin and eyes are becoming more yellow in complexion, your urine is a darker shade of yellow or orange and your stools are pale in colour, this is another early cause for concern, said Dr Missick.
He continued: “Jaundice occurs when the pancreatic cancer blocks the bile ducts, affecting the flow of bile.”
And if you’re experiencing stomach pain or back pain that initially comes and goes and is exacerbated after eating or lying down, this is another early indicator of potential pancreatic cancer.
Dr Missick advised: “This pain often becomes more noticeable as the tumour grows.”
If you experience any of the above early symptoms it’s vital to consult your doctor as soon as you can to get advice.
Other follow-on symptoms include:
- Loss of appetite, particularly if a patient notices an aversion to meat
- Digestive problems, difficult digesting fatty foods, resulting in oily, foul-smelling stools and diarrhoea
- New-onset diabetes
Dr Missick said: “Pancreatic cancer symptoms typically become noticeable when the disease is in its later stages, after the tumour has invaded surrounding tissues or spread to distant organs. This is one of the reasons why early detection of pancreatic cancer is challenging and why routine check-ups with your doctor or GP are so important.
“It emphasises the importance of being vigilant about your health, especially if you have risk factors such as a family history of pancreatic cancer or smoking.”
Dr Missick added: “Pancreatic cancer is a formidable opponent, but early detection can greatly improve your chances of overcoming it. Familiarise yourself with these red flags and symptoms, and if you or someone you know experiences them, seek medical attention promptly.
“Remember, it’s better to be cautious and get checked out than to delay, as early intervention is often the key to a more favourable outcome. Your health should always be a top priority.”
Post source: Daily Express