The pancreas sits behind the lower end of the stomach and is responsible for maintaining healthy blood sugar and producing enzymes that help with digesting food. Like many cancers, pancreatic cancer is the most treatable when it is caught early on, but it is also not very detectable in its early stages.
While the symptoms oftentimes do not show up until the cancer has advanced, it is still treatable and paying attention to your body to see if any signs show up can mean beginning treatment sooner and increasing the chances of success.
Unfortunately, the early stages of pancreatic cancer can often be overlooked because people will be asymptomatic, but keeping an eye out for the symptoms that it does produce and contacting your doctor if they present themselves can help to get the ball rolling on starting treatment.
Pancreatic Cancer Symptoms
There are several pancreatic cancer symptoms, and if you are experiencing them you should get in touch with your doctor and see what they recommend about getting screened.
- Chronic fatigue
- Pain that radiates from the abdomen to the back
- Nausea and vomiting
- Unexpected weight loss
- Diabetes or advancement in pre-existing diabetes
- Darkened urine and light stool
Not all of these symptoms may present themselves if pancreatic cancer is present, but if you are experiencing these symptoms, you should speak with your doctor and listen to what they think that you should do as far as screening or treatment. Many of these symptoms can indicate other health problems that also need to be treated in some way but may not be as serious as pancreatic cancer.
What Causes Pancreatic Cancer?
Pancreatic cancer does not have as ironclad of known causes as many other forms of cancer and because of how difficult it can be to detect in its early stages, it is somewhat sneaky, so to speak. Like with many other forms of cancer, smoking tobacco is a known potential cause of pancreatic cancer.
Smokeless forms of tobacco are also found to be a risk factor for causing pancreatic cancer. Because there are very few known causes of pancreatic cancer, doctors and researches often look to family history as a good indicator of someone’s likelihood of developing it or at least deciding whether or not to screen for it even when symptoms are not present.
There are some studies that have been published that suggest that overly fat-rich diets with a large amount of meat consumption can put people at risk of developing pancreatic cancer due to many of the ingredients and preservatives found in processed meat, but that is not fully accepted by the entire medical community.
Speak to a Doctor
If you are experiencing any symptoms of pancreatic cancer, it is advised that you take it seriously and do not ignore it. Not all of the symptoms indicate that pancreatic cancer is a definite and they can point to several other conditions, but in the event that they develop you will want to get in touch with your medical care provider to see how they think that you should proceed as far as getting tested and keeping an eye on it.
When pancreatic cancer develops and gets to be more advanced in later stages, the symptoms become more prominent and even more symptoms can show up such as jaundice and intense fatigue. Treatment is possible no matter what the stage is, but as just about any form of cancer, earlier detection is better and suggests that treatment will be more successful.
Get in touch with your doctor if you are at high risk for pancreatic cancer or have developed any symptoms.