Watch out for these first warning signs of pancreatic cancer

ByZarafshan Shiraz, Delhi
Apr 14, 2023 12:26 PM IST

Pancreatic cancer is difficult to detect in early stages as there are no noticeable symptoms until cancer has advanced. Watch out for these first warning signs

The pancreas is a deeply buried organ that lies behind other organs, including the stomach, small intestine, liver, spleen, gallbladder and bile ducts and this makes it difficult to detect cancerous tumours in the pancreas until they have grown too large or may have already spread to other parts of the body. Pancreatic cancer can be difficult to detect in its early stages and often, there are no noticeable symptoms until the cancer has advanced however, there are some common warning signs that may indicate the presence of pancreatic cancer.

Watch out for these first warning signs of pancreatic cancer (Photo by Shutterstock)
Watch out for these first warning signs of pancreatic cancer (Photo by Shutterstock)

In an interview with HT Lifestyle, Dr Kanury VS Rao, Co-Founder and Chief Scientific Officer (CSO) at PredOmix, shared, "Pancreatic cancer is often referred to as a silent disease because symptoms may not be evident during the early stages. Jaundice or a yellowing of the skin and the whites of the eyes, which is caused by an excess of bilirubin, persistent upper abdominal pain that may extend to the back, unintended weight loss, loss of appetite, changes in bowel movements, and new-onset diabetes are all potential early warning signs of pancreatic cancer. Early detection is crucial for pancreatic cancer as symptoms are not specific and may be caused by other conditions. Seek medical attention if symptoms persist or worsen. With early diagnosis and treatment, individuals may have a better chance of successful outcomes and improved quality of life.”

Echoing the same, Dr Ranjit Kumar CS, MBBS, DNB (Hematology) DM (Medical Oncology) at Tattvan E-Clinics, revealed the warning signs as -

  • Jaundice: Yellowing of the skin and whites of the eyes.
  • Abdominal or back pain: Constant or recurring pain in the abdomen or back.
  • Unexplained weight loss: A sudden loss of weight without any apparent cause.
  • Digestive problems: Nausea, vomiting and indigestion.
  • Fatigue: A persistent feeling of tiredness, weakness, or exhaustion. If you experience any of these symptoms, it is important to consult your doctor as soon as possible.

Bringing his expertise to the same, Dr Suresh Manni, Researcher and Associate Professor at School of Allied Medical Sciences of Lovely Professional University, highlighted, “The early symptoms of pancreatic cancer can be vague and easily mistaken for other conditions. At its earliest stages, when it is most treatable, pancreatic cancer is rarely found. This is due to the fact that it frequently does not develop symptoms until the disease has spread to other organs. Pancreatic cancer signs and symptoms usually don't appear until the cancer is advanced. Some common symptoms of the disease include: jaundice, dark urine, loss of appetite, sudden and unintentional weight loss, nausea and vomiting, itchy skin and stomach pain are some common warning signs of pancreatic cancer.”

However, these symptoms may also be caused by other conditions, so it's important not to jump to conclusions without proper medical evaluation.

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