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Pancreatic Cancer (cont.)

Pancreatic Cancer Symptoms and Signs

The initial signs and symptoms of pancreatic cancer are often nonspecific and have a gradual or slow onset. The main symptoms of pancreatic cancer include the following:

  • Pain in the abdomen, the back, or both; often the pain becomes constant
  • Weight loss, often associated with the following:
    • Loss of appetite (anorexia)
    • Bloating
    • Diarrhea or fatty bowel movements that float in water (steatorrhea)
    • May present with new diabetes diagnosis (within the first year) in a person with weight loss and nausea
  • Jaundice (yellowing of the skin)
  • Pruritis
  • Enlarged gallbladder
  • Abdominal problems (ascites, abdominal mass)
  • Depression
  • Venous thrombosis
  • Palpable lymph nodes (cervical, clavicular)

The symptoms of pancreatic cancer are generally vague and can easily be attributed to other less serious and more common conditions. This lack of specific symptoms explains the high number of people who have a more advanced stage of disease when pancreatic cancer is discovered.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 4/2/2015
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Pancreatic cancer is the fourth leading cause of death among both men and women, comprising 6% of all cancer-related deaths.

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