Pancreatic cancer symptoms are usually undetected in the early stages because the signs can be mistaken as common digestive problems. The pancreas is a digestive organ located near the stomach and the small intestine. Its primary function is to assist with the digestion of food and produce hormones in the body serving several different functions.
Pancreatic cancer is a very aggressive cancer that has become a serious health issue in the United States. The American Cancer Society reports that more than 38,000 individuals are diagnosed with pancreatic cancer annually and as many as 35,000 individuals die from the illness each year. One of the main reasons why pancreatic cancer is the fourth leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the nation is because it is difficult to treat early.
Pancreatic cancer symptoms are generally silent and painless in the initial stages. As the cancer continues to grow, symptoms of pancreatic cancer will make it possible to detect the problem.
Adenocarcinoma pancreatic cancer is found in more than 95 percent of cases reported in the United States. This form of pancreatic cancer is found in the exocrine pancreas and has very limited systematic treatment options. The reason exocrine cancer is much more prevalent is because the cancer will grow silently until it reaches outside the pancreas. It is not until after the cancer has spread outside of the pancreas that sufferers start to notice pancreatic cancer symptoms.
Symptoms of Pancreatic Cancer in Women and Men
Both men and women show similar symptoms when they are diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in the exocrine pancreas. The most common signs of pancreatic cancer reported may include: weight loss, jaundice, fat in the stool, abdominal pain, back pain, bloating, a feeling of fullness with meals, nausea, diarrhea, and pale-colored stools. Pancreatic cancer symptoms will start to advance as the cancer spreads from the gastrointestinal system throughout the entire body.
Pancreatic cancer prognosis
When cancer starts to show constitutional whole-body symptoms prognosis is not good. Because the cancer is so difficult to diagnose in early stages, the American Cancer Society reports a 5-year survival rate of about 5 percent. The one-year pancreatic cancer survival rate is reported to be 20 percent if the doctor prescribes aggressive treatment.
Survival rates of pancreatic cancer do rise to 20 to 25 percent for individuals who can have the tumors completely removed. Within the last decade, advancements in pancreatic cancer treatments have made it possible to remove larger tumors. While the cancer is still deemed incurable, it is important to visit a doctor to detect the cancer as soon as possible if you are showing one or many of the pancreatic cancer symptoms.