Statistics reveal that pancreatic cancer has the greatest death rates as compared to all other types of cancers. Our pancreas are indeed the most understated organs within the body, organs that we don’t pay much attention to or care for.
The pancreas are six inches long, and they are located right behind the stomach. Their function is to aid the body in digesting food and keep your blood sugar levels under control. Normally, the pancreas are able to perform their functions without disruption, but when they become damage or disrupted, they can cause serious disruptions throughout your body.
Research reveals that no more than 2% individuals get diagnosed with the symptoms of pancreatic cancer during their lives. It is extremely common amongst individuals above the age of 60, but cases of pancreatic cancer have also been reported amongst young adults in their 20s and 30s.
Therefore, it is extremely essential to be able to detect all the symptoms that indicate the presence of pancreatic cancer, so in case you experience them, you can spot them immediately, leading to an early diagnosis. Doctors reveal that most female patients tend to wait around for the symptoms to go away before they are finally forced to consult a doctor when the symptoms get horribly worse, and this is the primarily why pancreatic cancer has such a high death rate.
It is highly advisable to not take the risk of waiting at all. We’ve listed down all the commonly occurring symptoms to spot this sinister disease, and if you experience any of these symptoms, be sure to contact your doctor right away. It may seem silly if you don’t find anything, but remembers, it’s always better to be safe than sorry.
Here, take a look at all the symptoms to detect pancreatic cancer:
1. Your skin and eyes turn yellow
When the skin and eyes start to turn yellow instead of their regular white colour, it is always an indication of a severe health ailment. It could be seen as the indication of multiple health ailments, such as liver failure, alcoholism and pancreatic cancer amongst others. This tends to happen because most pancreatic tumours begin at the head of our pancreas, which is located near the bile duct.
Even the tumours that are smaller in size can exert a great deal of pressure on the surrounding organs and block your bile duct, which is responsible from carrying the bile from the liver and gallbladder and transporting it through the pancreas towards the small intestine.
One of the principal responsibilities of bile is to eliminate bilirubin from your body, which is basically a naturally-occurring waste product that occurs from red blood cells. So, when the bile fails to remove the bilirubin, it starts to accumulate within the body, leading to the development of the symptoms of jaundice, which causes the yellow eyes and skin. Even though this yellowness can occur due to several reasons, it is highly advisable to never ignore this symptom and get it checked by your doctor immediately.
2. You look bloated enough to appear pregnant
Experiencing minor symptoms of bloating after consuming a particularly large meal is a normal occurrence, but bloating that persists for several days is an indication of trouble. When the pancreatic tumours begins to grow larger in size, they make the stomach distend.
This is one of the earliest symptoms to occur amongst women, who don’t consult their doctors because bloating doesn’t usually seem like a serious condition. Even if it isn’t pancreatic cancer, persistent bloating could be a sign of other ailments, such as digestive trouble, inflammation and even ovarian cancer.
Remember, precaution is the first step to prevention.
3. The most indulgent of treats no longer seem appetizing
If you can’t seem to devour your favourite foods and desserts that you once adored, consider it a symptom because loss of appetite is one of the earliest symptoms of pancreatic cancer.
This happens because when the tumours begin growing inside the abdomen, they exert a great deal of pressure upon the other organs surrounding the abdomen, particularly the stomach.
This explains why your stomach turns at the sight of food, you feel full even when you haven’t eaten for several hours, along with feeling nauseous and weary. Patients even report that eating causes them a lot of pain.
4. You’re experiencing unexplainable weight loss
If you’re dropping weight without trying or can’t seem to figure out the reasons behind rapid weight loss, it might be a sign of something sinister.
Pancreatic cancer causes loss of appetite, which can contribute to speedy weight loss, usually causing more than 5% loss of your body weight within the time frame of six months or a year.
If you can’t seem to explain this unintentional weight loss, you need to get yourself examined.
5. Your lower back is constantly aching
When the pancreatic tumour continues to grow, it exerts a great deal of pressure upon the internal organs, along with causing a great deal of harm and pressure on the lower spine and back muscles, which leads to the development of a persistently dull ache.
Women tend to experience lower back pain each month along with their menstrual cycle, so, it can be difficult to different whether your regular lower back ache and soreness is because of excessive exercising at the gym, the PMS cycle, or something deadlier.
If your pain is persistent, and if doesn’t seem to go away even after your period has ended, be sure to get it examined by your doctor immediately.
6. Your urine appears as dark as tea
Dark-hued urine that looks a lot like tea is considered a sign of excessive dehydration, but it is also considered to be one of the earliest signs of jaundice. Since the tumour doesn’t allow much bile to be excreted, the bilirubin levels within the blood raise alarming, and the urine starts to take a brownish colour.
If you cannot seem to bring back the normal light-yellow shade of your urine by drinking lots of water, chances are, you might be suffering from jaundice, which is one of the early signs of pancreatic cancer.
So, be sure to get your urine examined without delay.
7. The Itching Doesn’t Seem to Stop
Feeling extremely itchy all-over your skin, to the extent that you just can’t seem to stop itching yourself is considered one of the earliest symptoms of both, pancreatic cancer and jaundice.
Research reveals that when the bilirubin starts to accumulate up inside the skin, it can lead to the development itching before it even begins to turn yellow.
Often, patients have complained of itchiness, only to reveal yellow skin upon examination. So, if you seem to experience a great deal of itching without any specific cause, such as allergic reaction to a product or a bug bites, and it doesn’t seem to go away with the help of a soothing lotion, consult your doctor right away.
8. Your poop has weird colours
Spotting an alien-coloured poop in the toilet is a sign of bad health, especially if the stool is greasy, light-hued of abnormally grey. Once again, we can trace the reason behind this bizarre poop colour to bilirubin, which the body naturally excretes through the bowels in the shape of stool, which is what gives our stool its dark brown colour.
However, when the tumour starts blocking the bile, the body is unable to pass on the bilirubin within your system, and it fails to exit the body with your poop. This causes a change in your bowel movements, along with changing the texture and colour of your stool.
Experts have ruled it out as one of the possible symptoms that indicate the presence of a pancreatic tumour, but it can also indicate other ailments, such as liver disease, or even gastrointestinal infection.
Regardless of the ailment, spotting poop that is not dark brown is a sign of a serious health problem, and you need to consult your doctor ASAP if your stool starts floating around in the toilet or appears to be persistently pale.
9. You have an aching tummy without any obvious reasons
If you stomaching has been hurting and you can’t seem to explain the reason to your doctor might seem odd, but this is exactly the type of unobvious pain that is one of the earliest signs of pancreatic cancer.
Since the pancreases are tucked away at the back of your lower abdomen, right behind your stomach, developing a tumour in this location can lead to the development of a low-key yet persistent pain in the stomach, regardless of your diet and consumption.
10. You Feel Unwell & Fatigued
The scariest factor about developing the symptoms of pancreatic cancer is the fact that by the time your symptoms become noticeable and definitive, the disease tends to have made dramatic progressions.
Therefore, in order to catch it in its earliest stages, you need to pay close attention to all the vague and ambiguous symptoms, which also include generally feeling unwell, sick and exhausted, which tends to persist for more than one or two weeks, and doesn’t seem to be caused by an obvious ailment, for instance a case of cold or flu.
Keep in mind, if you feel something has been off with your health for a while, it is always advisable to get yourself examined because finding out nothing is better than missing out a cancerous tumour.
The scariest factor about developing a disease as sinister as pancreatic cancer is the fact that it has one of the highest death rates as compared to all other kinds of cancers, and just 8% people manage to survive for five years after being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. Why is that so?
Experts believe that the success rate of curing pancreatic cancer are so low because it is extremely hard to catch this deadly disease in its earliest stages, when it is most treatable. This is mainly because our pancreas are tucked away so deeply inside the body that there is no way to detect the presence of these tumours, see or feel their presence in any way.
This is why people often end up ignoring the signs of pancreatic cancer entirely because they are so unnoticeable until the condition worsens. By the time the patients detect the symptoms, the cancer has already spread and grown towards other surrounding organs.