The pancreas is a pear-shaped gland located between the stomach and the spine. Its role plays an essential role in health as it participates in the body’s metabolism by being responsible for producing a portion of the juices required for digestion as well as hormones that regulate blood sugar levels. Like the rest of the body organs, this can be attacked by malignant cells that give rise to cancer, a rather dangerous disease that can lead to death. Also known as exocrine cancer, it has a high incidence in the male population, although it can also occur in women, especially of advanced ages.
While there is still no exact cause that can explain their appearance, experts believe that alcohol consumption, smoking, genetics and other factors may have some relationship.
What are the signs of pancreatic cancer?
One of the reasons why it is so difficult to treat this pathology is because in its early stages it does not show strong symptoms, or it is pronounced through signals that are confused with other more common diseases.
Most of the symptoms appear when the tumor reaches a considerable size, capable of disturbing the digestive functioning, the liver and other systems that depend on its function.
In many cases, it is labeled as a “silent killer” because it only finds its final stage when there is nothing to do. The good news is that today researchers have been able to find some timely signs that could help them act on time.
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1. Mild abdominal pain
Abdominal pain that occurs as a sign of pancreatic cancer has a characteristic that makes it different from that caused by other causes: when the person leans forward he finds a sense of relief.
It is a persistent discomfort that has different levels of intensity, irradiating in many cases up to the back.
This symptom is produced by the spread of malignant cells in the affected nerve tissues, although it is usually intermittent.
2. Digestive problems
This is one of the most difficult symptoms of cancer considered pancreas because of all the factors that may result.
However, it is important to mention it, since it is quite common among patients due to an obstruction that blocks the circulation of digestive enzymes, responsible for digesting such heavy foods as proteins, fats, and carbohydrates.
When presenting this difficulty the person can experience:
3. Yellowish skin
The yellowing of the skin is usually the result of an increase in bilirubin levels in the blood.
When the tumor is located in the head of the pancreas, patients usually suffer from this symptom, which is often accompanied by itching of the hands and feet. This is caused by a blockage in the bile duct, which regulates this pigment.
4. Sudden weight loss
Who would not like to lose many pounds suddenly? It seems a miracle to lose a few carvings from one moment to the next without making any effort.
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The truth is that behind this “wonder” hides one of the main signs of cancer or other chronic pathologies.
5. Stool changes
Due to the interference caused by the tumor in the action of the digestive enzymes, it is very common that there are a number of changes in the feces that can also help to alert the disease.
For example, as digestion is more difficult, the wastes are harder and harder to eject. In addition, they are usually fermented for all the time that they pass in the organism and they present a smell more fetid than normal.
Some experts believe observing such details, or other signs such as bleeding, increase the likelihood of early diagnosis. Experiencing recurrence of these symptoms is one more reason than enough to consult with the specialist to receive a proper medical examination.
There is the possibility of finding another origin, but it never hurts to have this disease among the possible options, especially if you have some kind of family history.