Pancreatic Cancer: Everything You Need to Know

Worried about pancreatic cancer? Do you have sudden weight loss, new-onset diabetes, a loss of appetite, indigestion, yellow skin, or eyes?

A man with pancreatic cancer signs and symptoms

If you answered YES, it’s time to see a doctor because you might have pancreatic cancer.

What I mentioned, are the signs and symptoms.

Did you know that in the United States, this deadly illness is the fourth leading cause of cancer-related deaths?

So, here’s an overview of pancreatic cancer, risks factors, treatments, signs, and symptoms.

What is pancreatic cancer?

You might have a lot of questions, but first, what is it?

Pancreatic cancer is a type of cancer that begins in the pancreas and spreads throughout the body. In addition, this cancer is rarely found in its early stages when it is most treatable. The reason being is, it does not show any symptoms until it has spread to other organs.

Where is the pancreas located?

The pancreas is an organ located in the central upper abdomen that sits behind the stomach. Not only does it measure about six to eight inches long and two inches wide but also very important in our digestive system.

What are the functions of the Pancreas?

The pancreas has only two functions: first, it is responsible for producing hormones that help control the levels of sugar, insulin, and other substances in your blood. Secondly, it also makes digestive enzymes or digestive juices that help break down (digest) the food you eat.

What are the symptoms of pancreatic cancer?

We don’t always see what’s going on inside our bodies, but we do feel symptoms. So, the question now is what are the signs and symptoms of pancreatic cancer? Before answering your question, let me tell you that with pancreatic cancer, you may only experience vague symptoms. And, if you are experiencing one or more of these unexplained symptoms, see a doctor right away. Remember, don’t wait until it’s late.

  • Weight Loss

The first symptom of pancreatic cancer is weight loss. As cancer consumes the body’s energy, weight loss may happen. It may be difficult to eat due to nausea and vomiting caused by cancer treatments or a tumor pressing on your stomach. Your pancreas may not be producing enough digestive juices, causing your body to have trouble processing nutrients from food.

Patients with pancreatic cancer often become full quickly with small amounts of food or lose their appetite completely.

  • Yellow Skin or eyes (Jaundice)

The second symptom is yellow skin or eyes. It also includes dark urine and pale stools. In most cases, jaundice happens without abdominal pain. But, patients with jaundice will often notice a change in their stools, which will appear fatty and greasy, and float. This is caused by a lack of proper digestive juices produced by the pancreas.

  • Abdominal Pain

The third symptom is a growing tumor in your abdomen which may press on nerves, causing severe pain. Moreover, patients frequently experience dull aching abdominal pain in the central upper abdomen that radiates to the back. It’s recommended to take pain relievers to make you feel more at ease. Remember to consult your doctor before taking any pills or medicine.

  • Bowel obstruction 

The fourth sign and symptom is bowel obstruction, a blockage of the flow of the bowel stream, which may be due to tumors. As a result, there might be difficulty in passing digested food from the stomach to the intestines.

Here are other symptoms:

  • depressions
  • blood clot

Sometimes patients with pancreatic cancer won’t have these symptoms at all until very late or even never.

How can you be diagnosed with pancreatic cancer?

Many people are asking, how can a patient be diagnosed with pancreatic cancer? The answer is, your primary care provider may perform a biopsy if he or she suspects or sees a lump that looks like pancreatic cancer. For instance, a physician takes a small sample of the mass whether or not it’s cancer.

What are the risk factors of Pancreatic Cancer?

What You Need To Know?

Previously, we talked about the signs and symptoms. This time, let’s talk about risk factors. Although the exact causes of pancreatic cancer are still unknown, researchers have identified some risk factors. While there is no known cause, there are some risk factors that may increase your chances of developing it.

If you do or have any of the following, you may be at a higher risk.

  • Smoking Cigarettes
  • Obesity
  • Inactive Lifestyles
  • Eating Unhealth Food
  • Heavy Drinking of Alcohol
  • Work with Pesticides & Chemical

Other Risk Factors

  • liver damage
  • family history of pancreatic cancer
  • chronic inflammation of the pancreas
  • have diabetes

Pancreatic Cancer Treatment

If the cancer is caught early, there’s a chance you’ll be able to have surgery or surgical removal of cancer. In addition to this, patients often receive chemotherapy and/or radiation, especially if cancer has spread widely.

Pancreatic Cancer Prevention

Some risk factors that increase your chances of getting this type of cancer are unchangeable like gender, age, and DNA.  Some lifestyle changes and overall health approaches, on the other hand, may help to lower your risk.  These are some of them:
  • Quit Smoking
quit smoking for pancreatic cancer prevention

Smoking increases your chance of getting cancer. If you’ve been smoking a lot, now is the time to stop. It’s not easy but it’s worth it to avoid this risk.

  • Drink less
Drink Less for pancreatic cancer prevention

Chronic pancreatitis and possibly pancreatic cancer are linked to heavy drinking. Instead, it’s better to switch alcoholic drinks to healthy fresh juices.

  • Weight Management
Weight management for pancreatic cancer prevention

Obesity or being overweight is a major risk factor for a variety of cancers. Weight management is important to avoid risk. Start eating healthy food like fresh fruits and vegetables.

The Bottom Line

Please check yourself, and if you have any of the symptoms I mentioned, please see your doctor right away. Make sure that you prioritize your health. Take care of your body as you strive to live your healthiest and happiest life.

While you’re trying to improve your lifestyle for the better, get yourself covered. Unexpected events may happen in the future that will take away our savings, life, and the life of the people we love. At Simple Choice Insurance Brokerage, we care for you and your family. Learn about health benefits that are right for you.