Pancreatic Cancer - What Are The Symptoms?

Nowadays, pancreatic cancer is killing people at an alarming rate. According to recent healthcare reports, millions of patients lose their lives battling pancreatic cancer every year. Obesity and long-standing diabetes double up the chances of occurrence of this fatal disease. Also, patients living a sedentary lifestyle and following improper habits are at a greater risk of developing this disease.

What is Pancreatic Cancer?

Pancreas is a significant gland situated in the abdominal region of digestive system. It is mainly responsible for releasing essential enzymes which help the process of digestion. Pancreatic cancer occurs due to the production of malignant cells in pancreas of patients. This life-threatening disease is highly treatable if caught in an early stage.

Major Symptoms

It is tough to recognize pancreatic cancer in the beginning because it does not show any considerable signs or symptoms.

  • Abdominal pain - Studies reveal that majority of patients suffering from pancreatic cancer experience mild to severe pain in abdomen area.
  • Bloating - Patients may feel stuffed even with small meals. Sometimes, they may get swelling in abdominal portion.
  • Diarrhea - Patients with pancreatic cancer usually experience diarrhea. In some instances, patients may notice pale-colored stools and dark colored urine.
  • Fatty Tissue Abnormalities - It has been observed that patients with pancreatic cancer experience an unusual texture of the fatty tissue below their skin. This abnormality mostly occurs due to pancreatic enzymes.
  • Nausea - Patients may feel discomfort in stomach. Vomiting sensation or nausea is the most common symptom of pancreatic cancer.
  • Elevated blood sugars - In most instances, patients battling pancreatic cancer may develop diabetes. Their pancreas may become weak and lose the capability of producing insulin. This can give rise to increased sugar levels in their body.
  • Jaundice - Yellow discoloration of the skin is one of the prominent symptoms of underlying pancreatic cancer.
  • Itching - Pancreatic cancer may block the bile duct in patients. This may accelerate itching. Patients with pancreatic cancer often complain of itching sensation all over their body.
  • Sudden Weight Loss - Sudden weight loss can be an indication of various cancers including pancreatic cancer. Patients with an underlying pancreatic cancer have a poor appetite which can result in considerable weight loss.

Patients experiencing the above-mentioned symptoms should consult a well-experienced cancers specialist or oncologist. Oncologists may recommend certain imaging tests like an ultrasound scan, computerized tomography scan (CT scan), magnetic resonance imaging test (MRI), and laparoscopy to confirm the presence of pancreatic cancer. Depending on the diagnosis, surgeons will determine a suitable pancreatic cancer treatment.

Treatment Options for Pancreatic Cancer

Pancreatic cancer treatment cost may vary depending on its type and overall health condition of patients. There are mainly three pancreatic cancer treatment procedures namely pancreatic cancer surgery, chemotherapy, and radiotherapy.

  • Surgery - It involves removal of cancerous region of pancreas. Pancreaticoduodenectomy is the most widely performed surgery for pancreatic cancer.
  • Chemotherapy - Surgeons may give powerful drugs to kill the malignant cells in pancreas of patients.
  • Radiotherapy - Radiotherapy for pancreatic cancer involves the use of high-intensity radiation to destroy the malignant cells.

Early detection and treatment can save lives of many patients struggling with pancreatic cancer. Therefore, patients experiencing abnormal symptoms should immediately visit a doctor for health consultation.  

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