11 Pancreatic Cancer Problems: Symptoms and Treatment

Pancreatic cancer is sometimes called the “silent” disease because symptoms are rarely noticed in its early stages. If symptoms are present, they are often vague and easily ignored.
And since more than 95% of pancreatic cancer is of the exocrine type, we will, through this article, classify the symptoms of pancreatic cancer first, followed by how to treat it.

What is the pancreas?

The pancreas is an organ of the body and is found in the human race and in vertebrate animals. The function of the pancreas is to secrete digestive juices needed to break down food. It also secretes insulin and glucagon as well, two hormones that are needed to maintain sugar balance and metabolism. The human pancreas is a pinkish-yellow gland 14 to 20 cm long, about 38 cm wide, and about 25 cm thick. In the human body, the pancreas occupies a transverse location behind the stomach.

There are two types of pancreatitis: acute pancreatitis and chronic pancreatitis.

acute pancreatitis symptoms

Acute pancreatitis arises and develops over a very short period of time. Pancreatitis may worsen to this degree, in most cases, due to the formation of stones in the gallbladder sac or when alcoholic beverages are consumed excessively. Other causes of infection with this type of inflammation include: taking medications, exposure to pollution, exposure to injuries, a disorder in the body’s metabolism (metabolism), or as a result of surgery.

chronic pancreatitis symptoms

It is noted that chronic inflammation of the pancreas often occurs after acute pancreatitis or as a result of persistent pancreatitis. More than 70% of chronic pancreatitis cases result from excessive alcohol consumption for a long period of time. Other, less common causes are metabolic disorders in the body (metabolism).

Below is a list of 11 Terminal pancreatic cancer symptoms :

1. Back or stomach pain

The location of back pain for pancreatic cancer, or stomach pain, or in some cases, both types of pain can be caused by pancreatic cancer. The pain usually starts in the abdomen before spreading to the back. It is noteworthy that some people, who may have pancreatic cancer, do not experience any pain at all.

2. You are bloated

One of the problems caused by pancreatic cancer is a problem with the digestive system, which may cause gas and bloating. Pancreatic cancer can also cause ascites, which is the buildup of excess fluid in the abdomen. This causes the abdomen to swell as well as its expansion.

3. You have trouble digesting food

Common symptoms in people with pancreatic cancer are loss of appetite, indigestion, and nausea. These symptoms often occur when the disease affects a person’s ability to digest food and absorb nutrients. They may also occur when a tumor obstructs or slows down the regular digestive processes.

4. You are losing weight and you don’t know why

Weight loss can occur due to incomplete digestion due to cancer or because of the cancer itself. Weight loss caused by cancer is a problem that affects the way the body uses calories and protein. It can cause the body to burn more calories than usual, as well as break down muscles and reduce appetite.

5. Your skin and eyes look yellow

Jaundice is a yellowing of the skin and eyes caused by a buildup of bilirubin, which is a component of bile. And this accumulation can occur if the tumor blocks the flow of bile from the gallbladder into the small intestine.
For people with jaundice, they may also have itchy skin, dark urine, and light or clay-colored stools.

6. Your stools are changing

It is observed that many patients with pancreatic cancer suffer from diarrhea or constipation or both. Diarrhea that consists of loose, watery, oily, or foul-smelling stools can be caused by insufficient amounts of pancreatic enzymes in the intestines. Constipation is also a common problem. In the event that the digestive system is working very slowly, this may cause the stool to become dry and difficult to pass.

7. You have recently been diagnosed with diabetes, or your well-controlled diabetes is changing

Research suggests that the sudden onset of type 2 diabetes in people 50 years of age or older may be an early symptom of pancreatic cancer, especially in those with a low body mass index, sustained weight loss or no Any family history of diabetes.
A sudden change in blood sugar levels in diabetics with previously controlled diabetes may be a sign of pancreatic cancer.

8. Dark urine

As most people assume, dark urine is the first sign of jaundice.But in fact, the darkening of the urine occurs when the levels of bilirubin in the blood rise, which thus changes the color of the urine to brown.

9. Blood clots

While a blood clot forms in a large vein (deep vein thrombosis), it can sometimes be the first sign of pancreatic cancer. It usually appears as redness, swelling, and pain in the leg that has a blood clot. A piece of the blood clot may also travel to your lungs, making it difficult to breathe.

10. Enlarged gallbladder or liver

The American Cancer Society has pointed out that although you may not notice some symptoms on your own, your doctor may find that you have an enlarged gallbladder due to a blocked (bile) duct.

By the time the patient goes to see the doctor, during an imaging test, the doctor may discover a large lump under the right side of the rib cage. The most dangerous of these is that pancreatic cancer causes the liver to enlarge, especially if the cancer has spread to the liver.

11. Oral health issues

The mouth can tell you how healthy you are. In the event that a person has pancreatic cancer, then he may notice bad breath in the mouth, inflammation of the gums, or even teeth as well. In short, the report indicated that patients with pancreatic cancer are more likely to suffer from various gum and dental diseases, and poor oral health in general.
59% of participants who had oral bacteria compatible with gum disease were highly suggestive of pancreatic cancer, which was confirmed by researchers from New York University Langone Medical Center. Unlike the participants, they never showed any signs of bacteria. So although this factor is more serious than the symptoms, it is ultimately considered more important for prompt treatment.

Are the symptoms of pancreatic cancer in females different from the symptoms of pancreatic cancer in males?

No. Although men get pancreatic cancer slightly more often than women, the possible symptoms are the same.

How is pancreatic cancer treated?

Treatment for pancreatic cancer depends on certain things, including where the tumor is, what stage it is in, how healthy you are, and whether or not the cancer has spread outside the pancreas. Treatment options include:
Surgical removal: The cancerous part of the pancreas is removed (resection).
It is also possible to remove lymph nodes close to the pancreas. Surgery to remove all or part of the pancreas is called a pancreatectomy. If your tumor is located in the head (the widest part of the pancreas near the small intestine) of the pancreas, your provider may recommend a Whipple procedure. This surgical method removes the head of the pancreas, the duodenum (the first part of the small intestine), the gallbladder, part of the bile duct, and nearby lymph nodes.

Radiation therapy: High-speed energy is used to kill cancer cells.

Chemotherapy: In fact, this method uses drugs that kill cancer cells.

Immunotherapy: A treatment to help your body fight cancer. Immunotherapy has been largely ineffective against pancreatic cancer, but it may benefit about 1% of people with pancreatic cancer and a specific genetic change.
Targeted therapy: directed at specific genes or proteins that help cancer grow. Genetic testing in general is how we determine whether targeted therapy is right for you.

Clinical trials: Talk to your healthcare provider about whether participating in a clinical trial might be an option.
Other things to know about the treatment:
It is possible to use chemotherapy and/or radiation instead of surgery, before surgery to shrink a tumor, or after surgery to make sure all cancer cells are dead. Also you should be comfortable working with your healthcare team in making decisions about treatment.

Also, you and your provider should discuss ways to prevent or reduce side effects related to your treatment. And this type of care, called supportive or palliative care, may include:
Pain management: If pain medications fail to provide relief, an endoscopic procedure called celiac plexus block or neurolysis can be performed with direct guidance from endoscopic ultrasound.
Jaundice treatment: Your health care provider may insert a stent (tube) into your bile duct to control symptoms of jaundice.
Reducing bowel obstruction: Your provider can insert a stent to open up a blockage in your small intestine.
Diabetes management: Your medical team can help monitor your blood sugar levels and manage your diabetes medication.
Emotional support: Supportive care can also help you understand and process your own feelings and those of your family and friends.


In conclusion, the pathological conditions associated with pancreatitis are serious, so we recommend that you see a specialist doctor when you see any abnormal symptoms related to the disease, in addition to the need to strictly adhere to the treatments that the doctor prescribes for you. Also, don’t forget that early diagnosis of pancreatic cancer improves prognosis.

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