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What're the symptoms of pancreatic cancer?

The symptoms vary according to which part of the pancreas is affected. Abdominal pain is generally a sign that the pancreatic cancer has spread to the surrounding area and the tumor is pressing down on the nerves. Typically, the pain is in the back and relieved by sitting up and bending forward. Weight loss that is not due to drastic dieting or exercising is a common occurrence in pancreatic cancer patients. Weight loss could be due to loss of appetite and improper digestion. Digestive problems, diarrhea, and nausea may often occur in patients because the pancreas plays an important role in making certain digestive juices that break down the fatty foods. Gallbladder enlargement may sometimes occur, because the pancreatic tumor expands in size and presses down on the ducts leading from the gallbladder to the small intestine. Hence, the bile accumulates in the gallbladder causing it to become enlarged (a positive Courvoisier sign). Jaundice (a yellowish discoloration of the whites of the eyes and the skin) due to an accumulation of a substance called "bilirubin" in these tissues. Jaundice is secondary, and related, to associated obstruction of the common bile duct by the cancer. Many other conditions, such as hepatitis and the presence of gallstones also cause jaundice.

More information on pancreatic cancer

What is pancreatic cancer? - Pancreatic cancer is an abnormal, uncontrolled growth of cells in the pancreas, which is a digestive gland located behind the stomach.
What causes pancreatic cancer? - Pancreatic cancers can arise from both the exocrine and endocrine portions of the pancreas. Smoking is regarded as the single greatest risk factor for pancreatic cancer.
What're the risk factors for pancreatic cancer? - Risk factors including smoking and diets rich in red meat and fat increase the susceptibility to this particular cancer.
What're the symptoms of pancreatic cancer? - Abdominal pain is generally a sign that the pancreatic cancer has spread to the surrounding area and the tumor is pressing down on the nerves.
How is pancreatic cancer diagnosed? - The first step in diagnosing pancreatic cancer is a thorough medical history and a complete physical examination.
What's the treatment for pancreatic cancer? - The main treatments for pancreatic cancer are surgery, radiation therapy and chemotherapy. Chemotherapy uses drugs to kill cancer cells.
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