Warning Signs of Pancreatic Cancer

Identifying Pancreatic Cancer

Pancreatic cancer is a form of cancer that starts in the pancreas—which is a gland that plays an integral role in the endocrine system. The pancreas secretes the hormones insulin and glucagon, which help to effectively manage your body’s blood sugar levels.

In light of Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Month, the health experts at Ridgecrest Regional Hospital are here to share the signs and symptoms that may point to this chronic health condition.

Signs & Symptoms of Pancreatic Cancer

When it comes to the early stages of pancreatic cancer, there aren’t usually any signs or symptoms. However, once pancreatic cancer progresses, it can cause the following:

Jaundice

For most people with pancreatic cancer, jaundice will be one of their first symptoms and causes for concern. Jaundice is the yellowing of the eyes and skin due to a buildup of bilirubin, a substance made by the liver and found in bile.

This substance helps the body to break down fat in the intestines, where it is then excreted from the body through the stool. However, when the bile ducts to the intestines become blocked, bilirubin buildup happens. Pancreatic cancer growth can press on this duct, causing jaundice to happen.

Along with yellow eyes and skin, jaundice can also cause:

  • Dark urine
  • Light-colored stool
  • Greasy stool
  • Itchy skin

Abdominal & Back Pain

Because the pancreas is located inside of the abdomen and behind the stomach, it is common for those with pancreatic cancer to experience abdominal and back pain. When a cancerous tumor begins to form in the pancreas, it can press on surrounding organs and nerves, leading to pain and discomfort.

Nausea and Vomiting

Since the pancreas is located behind the stomach, cancerous growths can press on and even partially block the opening to the stomach. This can make it difficult for food to pass through, resulting in nausea and vomiting.

This can also lead to unintentional weight loss due to a lack of appetite.

Other Signs and Symptoms

Other symptoms of pancreatic cancer include:

  • Enlargement of the gallbladder
  • Enlargement of the liver
  • Blood clotting
  • Diabetes

Although these symptoms do not always mean that you have pancreatic cancer, it is still advised that you seek immediate care to have them further checked out by a medical professional for an accurate diagnosis and treatment.

Oncology & Hematology Services in Ridgecrest, California

Finding the right cancer care provider is one of the most important decisions you make in your cancer journey. Ridgecrest Regional Hospital is proud to offer the RRH Cancer Center, providing board-certified medical oncologists right here in Ridgecrest.

From diagnosis to treatment and beyond, our team of expert staff is here to support you every step of the way. To learn more about our oncology and hematology services, visit our website or give us a call at (760) 446-3551 (Mon-Fri 8 AM-5 PM) to schedule an appointment.