Pancreatic cancer is one of the most grim types of cancer a person can get. However, an individual should not let pancreatic cancer’s low survival rate keep them from going to the doctor if they feel unhealthy. At best medical intervention could allow them to be one of the more positive pancreatic cancer statistics. At worst medical intervention can help prolong their life for a little longer, while helping to alleviate some of the pain, discomfort and illness associated with the disease. For these reasons a person should go to the doctor if they have any pancreatic cancer symptoms. This article will provide some insight on some of the most common pancreatic cancer symptoms, so people can get an idea of whether or not they might be inflicted with the disease.
One of the most common yet overlooked pancreatic cancer symptom is pain in the abdominal area. When this particular pancreatic cancer symptom occurs, the disease has progressed into a more advanced stage. The reason for the pain is simple. Basically, the pancreatic cancer tumor is putting pressure on the nerves in the abdominal region. The pain can be ongoing or it could occur at certain times, such as after a meal, or when a person is ready to recline.
There is more than one classification of pancreatic cancer all having many similar signs and symptoms while others have more specific symptoms. Symptoms of pancreatic cancer are therefore classed into different categories to help the doctor or surgeon identify the particular strain of pancreatic cancer that the patient has. Muscle spasm is one symptom of a pancreatic cancer type called islet cell cancer where the cells of the pancreas start to produce more insulin than required by the body and this leads to muscle spasm. The higher release of insulin effects the glucose stored in the muscles which leads to spasms of the skeletal muscles.
There are usually very few pancreatic cancer symptoms that appear in the ‘earlier’ stages of the disease. But of these few is the symptom of unexplained weight loss. The reason why weight loss occurs is because the pancreatic cancer tumor cells deprive regular cells of necessary nutrients.
Jaundice, (which is defined as yellowing of the skin), is a signature pancreatic cancer symptom. Why does jaundice occur? It’s basically because of increased bilirubin in the blood. Bilirubin are by-products of blood cells that are dying. When the body is not inflicted with pancreatic cancer, bilirubin gets expelled through bile. However, with pancreatic cancer, tumors block the movement of bile. Jaundice causes no pain, but it can still be alarming due to the shocking appearance it causes.
Sickness is a pancreatic cancer symptom that occurs due to the tumors blocking various portions of the digestive tract. Such an occurrence can result in nausea and/or vomiting. It can also cause a host of other digestive problems, further adding to a person’s discomfort.
If you have any of these pancreatic cancer symptoms, the doctor will first check to see how big your gallbladder is. If the physician finds that it is distended, they may suspect pancreatic cancer, (since this is the common response of gallbladders when a person has pancreatic cancer). From there the doctor will perform liver function tests to see if your bile is moving as it should. If not, they will make further determinations through a biopsy and/or searching for tumor markers. Tumor markers are substances that are produced from cancer cells. Should these methods not provide sufficient enough, a doctor will perform an ultrasound to see directly if there are tumors developing on the pancreas.