World Pancreatic Cancer Day: 9 warning signs to watch out for

ORLANDO, Fla. — Thursday is World Pancreatic Cancer Day.

To mark the day, Channel 9 compiled nine warning signs of pancreatic cancer from the American Cancer Society.


See them below:

1. The American Cancer Society said early pancreatic cancers often do not cause any signs or symptoms. By the time they do cause symptoms, they have often grown very large or have already spread outside the pancreas.

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2. Jaundice and related symptoms: Jaundice is yellowing of the eyes and skin. Most people with pancreatic cancer (and nearly all people with ampullary cancer) will have jaundice as one of their first symptoms.

3. Belly or back pain: Pain in the abdomen (belly) or back is common in pancreatic cancer. Cancers that start in the body or tail of the pancreas can grow fairly large and start to press on other nearby organs, causing pain. The cancer may also spread to the nerves surrounding the pancreas, which often causes back pain. Pain in the abdomen or back is fairly common and is most often caused by something other than pancreatic cancer.

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4. Weight loss and poor appetite: Unintended weight loss is very common in people with pancreatic cancer. These people often have little or no appetite.

5. Nausea and vomiting: If the cancer presses on the far end of the stomach it can partly block it, making it hard for food to get through. This can cause nausea, vomiting, and pain that tend to be worse after eating.

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6. Gallbladder or liver enlargement: If the cancer blocks the bile duct, bile can build up in the gallbladder, making it larger. Sometimes a doctor can feel this (as a large lump under the right side of the ribcage) during a physical exam. It can also be seen on imaging tests.

7. Blood clots: Sometimes, the first clue that someone has pancreatic cancer is a blood clot in a large vein, often in the leg. This is called deep vein thrombosis or DVT. Symptoms can include pain, swelling, redness, and warmth in the affected leg.

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8. Diabetes: Rarely, pancreatic cancers cause diabetes (high blood sugar) because they destroy insulin-making cells. Symptoms can include feeling thirsty and hungry, and having to urinate often. More often, cancer can lead to small changes in blood sugar levels that don’t cause symptoms of diabetes but can still be detected with blood tests.

9. Having one or more of the symptoms listed above doesn’t mean you have pancreatic cancer, but it’s important to be checked by a doctor.

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Sarah Wilson

Sarah Wilson, WFTV.com

Sarah Wilson joined WFTV Channel 9 in 2018 as a digital producer after working as an award-winning newspaper reporter for nearly a decade in various communities across Central Florida.