If you suffer from persistent pancreas infection or obesity, the risk of pancreatic cancer is high. Although the exact cause of pancreatic cancer is not known, knowing about its symptoms can help you to diagnose the cancer at an early stage. Dr Deepak Chhabra, Surgical Oncologist, Mumbai sheds light on common symptoms of pancreatic cancer.
Jaundice: Yes, not just liver infection or disease, pancreatic cancer can also cause jaundice or yellowing of the skin and eyes. It is because the passage of bilirubin, a byproduct of liver metabolism, which travels through the bile duct and pancreas is blocked due to cancer cells signifying jaundice.
Change in stool colour: Another common symptom of pancreatic cancer is light-coloured stools. In most cases, stools might turn grey or chalky-white, which is due to the blocked bile duct.
Dark coloured urine: As the bile pigment gets accumulated in the liver, excess of the pigment is excreted through urine. This is the reason, why people who have pancreatic cancer have dark coloured urine, which is either orange or the colour of iced tea.
Abdominal pain: If the cancerous cells in the pancreas press against the nerves present in the abdomen, then you might experience pain in the upper abdomen and back. The pain is almost constant but dull and localised to the mid and upper back and the abdomen. In some cases, the pain might radiate to the back or shoulder.
Bloating and indigestion: Most people with pancreatic cancer experience indigestion, especially with fatty foods. If you experience symptoms like lack of appetite, nausea, diarrhoea and or weight loss along with indigestion, it is better to consult a doctor.
Uncontrolled diabetes: If you have diabetes, then a sudden change in the blood glucose or sudden onset of diabetes could be an early symptom as well as a risk factor for pancreatic cancer. The symptoms that might show up indicate itching of the skin and weight gain.