Pancreatic cancer is a kind of silent disease and may not be easily detected in early stages. It is very essential to know the early symptoms of pancreatic cancer so that you can treat it as early as possible. This article discusses about the early signs of pancreatic cancer and if pancreatic cancer can be cured
Early Signs of Pancreatic Cancer
Pancreatic cancer symptoms have many similarities with other disease and it often becomes difficult to detect whether a patient has pancreatic cancer or it is due to some other disease. Hence, it is very important to be aware of the early signs of pancreatic cancer that can lead to any suspicion, following which proper investigations can be done.
The following are the early signs of pancreatic cancer. However, one or two of such symptoms does not mean that you have pancreatic cancer. If you have some below-mentioned symptoms then it is advisable to seek medical opinion for a diagnosis.
Jaundice and Related Signs. Jaundice presents with yellowish eyes and skin, which is one of the early signs of pancreatic cancer. It is mainly caused due to the formation of bilirubin which is a kind of dark yellow-brown substance that is made in the liver. Our liver generally excretes bilirubin called as bile which goes into the intestine through the bile duct. However, due to the blockage of the bile duct, the bile cannot reach the intestine. As a result, the bilirubin level increases in the body resulting in jaundice. Again when cancer starts developing in the head of the pancreas, due to the growing tumor, the bile duct gets pressed resulting in jaundice. If cancer starts in the body or the tail of the pancreas then jaundice will not occur as it will not block the bile duct. In such condition, the patient will have brownish urine, light-colored or greasy stools, itchy skin. As one of the early signs of pancreatic cancer, some patients may also suffer from gallbladder stone, hepatitis and bile duct disease.
Stomach Pain or Back Pain. Pain in the abdomen as well as the back pain is also some of the commonest early signs of pancreatic cancer. When pancreatic cancer develops in the tail or the body of the pancreas, it grows large and starts to press on the nearby organs and due to that, it causes pain in the abdomen. Apart from that, when cancer spreads in the nerves of the surrounding areas of the pancreas, it causes back pain.
Weight Loss and Loss of Appetite. Sudden weight loss is also one of the commonest early signs of pancreatic cancer. Also, the patient will have no or little appetite. So, if you observe these two symptoms then it is very essential that you check with your doctor.
Nausea and Vomiting. Due to pancreatic cancer, the far end of the stomach can be blocked partly and as a result, the patient may experience nausea, vomiting or pain that gets worse after eating. Gastric disturbances are some of the commonest early signs of pancreatic cancer.
Other Signs of Pancreatic Cancer. Pancreatic cancer also causes diabetes. Abnormalities in fatty tissue underneath the skin are also seen in the patient due to the release of the enzymes that actually digest the fat. Blood clots can also occur in the large vein which is also called as deep vein thrombosis (DVT). Apart from that, pancreatic cancer also causes liver enlargement especially if pancreatic cancer has spread in the liver.
Can Pancreatic Cancer Be Cured?
Early signs of pancreatic cancer and early detection is important so that timely action can be taken. Pancreatic cancer can be cured through surgery, particularly in the early stages and if it has not spread out in other areas in the body. However, most often, pancreatic cancer is not diagnosed in its early stages as it does not produce any symptoms. Thus, when cancer has already advanced, surgery might not be sufficient and other treatment may be needed. Depending on the severity, stages, spread and overall of the patient, pancreatic cancer can be cured and treated with surgery, chemotherapy and radiation therapy if it is diagnosed at the right time. If the cancer of pancreas has advanced to a later stage, the only treatment that can be provided is symptomatic management of the cancer.
With early signs of pancreatic cancer, the condition can be diagnosed in early stages. Pancreatic cancer can be cured but it depends on the type, location as well as the stage of cancer. Apart from that, it also depends on the age and overall condition of the patient. If pancreatic cancer has not spread too much then it becomes possible to remove the tumor by surgery. In case the surgery is not possible, doctors try to prevent the growth of the tumor so that it does not cause any further harm.