8 May 2016
In a discourse by Christopher DiMaio, a gastroenterologist at the Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City, he explains more on symptoms of pancreatic cancer that can easily be over looked. Most of the time, people criss-cross symptoms associated with other diseases. For instance, fever and vomiting are linked with a number of illnesses, so a person with these symptoms might presume easily that he/she has Malaria, when, in fact, Lassa Fever exhibits the same symptoms.
Below, we go through a number of symptoms of pancreatic cancer that although aren’t noticeable until the disease is in its advanced stages, but is advised that if noticed cautions should be taken and a doctor should be spoken to.
Yellow colour of the skin
”Jaundice is one of the clearest signs of pancreatic cancer. Often, patients feel fine until one day a friend notices their eyes look yellow, then they go to the doctor and find out they have advanced pancreatic cancer. Cancers that start near the head of the pancreas can block the bile duct, preventing bile from reaching the intestines, where it helps break down fats and eventually leaves the body in the stool. This bile builds up and causes jaundice, which is yellowing of the skin or eyes. It can also cause your skin to itch, according to the American Cancer Society. “These are other cancer symptoms women should never ignore and cancer signs men should never ignore” says Dr DiMaio.
You experience abdominal or back pain
On the feeling of the pain, Dr. DiMaio says that, ‘the pain is hard to describe, but a dull, internal pain in this area, or radiating around the sides of your abdomen to the back, is a tip-off and you should get it checked out’. Cancers that start in the body or tail of the pancreas can press on nearby organs, causing pain. If the cancer spreads to the nerves surrounding the pancreas, this can cause back pain.
You develop pancreatitis
“Unexplained or chronic pancreatitis can be caused by a small tumor on the pancreas”, says Dr. DiMaio. He continued, “though pancreatitis is more commonly caused by gallstones, new medications, or alcohol abuse, if you develop the condition and don’t have any of those risk factors, it could be something more serious.”
Bad breath or oral issues
If your mouth is a mess of bad breath, inflamed gums, or loose teeth, it could be more than bad hygiene. ‘Pancreatic cancer patients are known to be susceptible to gum disease, cavities, and poor oral health in general,’ according to researchers from NYU Langone Medical Center, who conducted a study examining mouth bacteria of pancreatic cancer patients versus people without. They found that the presence of the same bacteria that has been tied to dental diseases like periodontitis (inflammation of the gums) put participants at a 59 percent greater risk of developing pancreatic cancer than those whose mouths didn’t contain the bacteria. Here’s what else your teeth and mouth can reveal about your health.
You’ve recently been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes
A diabetes diagnosis doesn’t mean you’ll get pancreatic cancer, but it is associated with an increased risk. One Mayo Clinic study found that 40 percent of pancreatic patients were diagnosed with diabetes in the months before their cancer diagnosis. The pancreas is responsible for creating insulin, so the early stages of the tumor may affect the pancreas’s ability to produce insulin, causing diabetes, says Dr. DiMaio.
Unexplained weight loss
If you suddenly have little to no appetite, or if you’re losing weight without changing your diet or exercise regimen, see your doctor; this is a common sign of pancreatic cancer, says Dr. DiMaio.