The symptoms of pancreatic cancer to look out for

Often dubbed a ‘silent killer’, pancreatic cancer leads to the death of around 9,000 people in the UK annually.

It is the tenth most common cancer in Britain, but accounts for the fifth most fatalities.

The cancer’s horrifyingly low survival rate makes it one of the most feared tumours to treat by doctors.

Not only this, but it is incredibly hard to effectively spot in it’s early stages.

Why is pancreatic cancer so deadly?

Pancreatic cancer is so deadly, because during the early stages of the tumour when it is most treatable, it spreads through your body with almost no symptoms.

At present, there are no screening tools to detect the cancer effectively which has led to it becoming the most deadly of all common cancers.

Terrifyingly, just seven percent of people diagnosed with pancreatic cancer survive past the five year mark.

The cancer surrounds itself with tough tissue, making it hard to treat. The survival rate has not changed in over 40 years, despite major medical advancements in other fields of cancer treatment.

The pancreas is a long and flat gland which helps digestion, regulates blood sugar levels and is located horizontally behind your stomach. Its location makes it difficult to operate on and unfortunately it is in excellent position for the cancer to spread to other internal organs.

Most patients die from their liver failing after being taken over by the tumour.

What are the early symptoms of pancreatic cancer?

The early stages of pancreatic cancer are incredibly hard to spot without doing scans and blood tests, but here are symptoms to look our for:

  • The whites of your eyes or your skin turning yellow
  • Loss of appetite or losing weight without trying to
  • Feeling fatigued
  • High temperature, or feeling hot or shivery
  • Darker urine and paler stool than usual
  • Itchy skin

According to the NHS, other symptoms which can affect your digestion due to the pancreas’s role in the process include:

  • Feeling or being sick
  • Pain at the top part of your tummy and your back, which may feel worse when you are eating or lying down and better when you lean forward
  • Symptoms of indigestion, such as feeling bloated

If you experience any of these symptoms, contact your healthcare provider immediately.

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