The Signs & Symptoms of Pancreatic Cancer

Image: Medscape

Pancreatic cancer is the fourth most common cause of cancer-related death in men and women and ninth in women alone. Those that are diagnosed early have an eight percent five-year survival rate while those that are diagnosed in later stages only have a three percent chance. This is mostly because pancreatic cancer is hard to diagnose, and when it is caught, it’s usually fairly advanced.

What exactly is pancreatic cancer? It’s a form of cancer where the healthy cells in the pancreas don’t work like they should and start to grow uncontrollably. As they continue to grow, they create tumors that can spread throughout the body. Over time, these tumors can become so large that they interfere with your organs’ ability to function. This can cause a lot of digestive distress, such as excess stomach acid, and problems with the liver and bile production.

Pancreatic cancer can be broken down into two types – exocrine and endocrine tumors. Exocrine tumors are very common and begin developing in the ducts of the pancreas. Endocrine tumors, also known as islet cell tumors, only make up one percent of pancreatic cancer patients.

Because pancreatic cancer is so hard to diagnose, we’ve gathered a list of the most common warning signs of this life-threatening disease, so you can be on the lookout. Being healthy includes exercising and eating a well-balanced diet, but it also includes paying attention to what your body is telling you. If you have any of the symptoms on this list, you might want to consider talking to your doctor.