Some types of cancer can be detected earlier because they are found near the skin and causes deformation or visible alterations to the normal shape of the body. However, other types of cancer, as in the case of pancreatic cancer, lay hidden in deep organs and will only be visible when some time has already passed, and cancer cells have taken over the normal function of the organ and its surrounding tissue.
Pancreatic cancer is a silent type of cancer that still have some signs and symptoms to look up. The pancreas is one of the deepest organs in the human body, and it makes pancreatic cancer difficult to detect and treat. In every case, the diagnosis will require imaging exams and a biopsy, which is why not even having a handful of symptoms would necessarily mean that you have this type of cancer.
In this article, you will get the most common signs and symptoms in pancreatic cancer. Every case will be different, and you will notice some of them may seem contradictory because there are different types of cells in the pancreas, and depending on which one is taken you will have one or another. In any case, if you have experienced one of the symptoms listed in this article, the best thing to do would be asking your doctor and following his advice to rule out common diseases before starting to think about pancreatic cancer.
» The warning signs and symptoms of pancreatic cancer are as follows:
1. Abdominal and back pain
The pancreas is a deep abdominal organ located in the upper middle region of the abdomen. Thus, an alteration to the pancreas typically causes abdominal pain. In pancreatic cancer, we can have either colic pain or a rather dull, unspecific and continuous type of pain. Since pancreatic cancer causes a series of gastrointestinal alterations, doctors usually think abdominal pain is caused by an infection or a similar condition. This often delays the diagnosis and may lead to a progressive aggravation of the symptoms.
According to each case, patients with pancreatic cancer may feel intermittent colic pain or continuous dull pain. Intermittent colic pain arises when pancreatic cancer grows near the intestinal loops and pushed them aside, causing a mechanical obstruction. In this case, colic pain is the result of the continuous struggle of the smooth muscle in the intestines to overcome the obstacle, and in severe cases may be accompanied by severe vomiting and other signs of intestinal obstruction.
Continuous dull pain is caused by increased pressure in the abdominal cavity and the inflammation associated with the malignant tumor. Cancer cells do not have restraint and grow uncontrollably regardless of the anatomical disposition of blood vessels and nerves. Pressure on nerve terminals in the abdominal cavity may cause discomfort or dull pain that is poorly localized. On the other hand, inflammatory cytokines and other substances create irritation in the surrounding area of the tumor and activate pain nerve terminals.