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Symptoms of pancreatic cancer that are ignored. It is a cancer with one of the worst prognosis

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Pancreatic cancer usually develops asymptomatically, which is why it is usually detected by chance and only at an advanced stage. As a result, the disease, with several thousand new cases diagnosed in Poland every year, is one of the cancers with the highest mortality rate. The British Independent published a list of potential symptoms that should prompt people to get tested for pancreatic cancer.

In Poland, ductal adenocarcinoma, the most common type of pancreatic cancer, is diagnosed in about 3,500 patients each year, the state Medical Research Agency estimates. This accounts for about 2 percent of all cancer cases, but pancreatic cancer ranks 5th in terms of causes of cancer-related deaths. “Despite the progress that has been made in the treatment of patients in many areas of oncology in recent years, pancreatic adenocarcinoma remains a cancer with one of the worst prognosis among all malignancies. It is estimated that before 2030 it may be the second cause of cancer-related deaths” – the state-owned Agency for Health Technology Assessment and Tariffs (AOTM) is alarming.

All because this cancer is usually detected only at an advanced stage – 80-90 percent. of the new cases are “disseminated patients with distant metastases,” the AOTM points out. Only 3 percent of patients with disseminated disease survive five years. And as the British calculated, more than half of patients with pancreatic cancer die within just three months of diagnosis.

Pancreatic cancer – symptoms

In the initial stage of development, pancreatic cancer is usually asymptomatic, which is why it is usually detected accidentally. However, there are symptoms that may raise suspicions of its occurrence. To help make this easier, The Independent, in partnership with pancreatic cancer awareness organisation, Pancreatic Cancer UK, has published a list of symptoms that may or may not be early signs of pancreatic cancer.

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One of the typical symptoms of pancreatic cancer is recurrent upper abdominal pain radiating to the spine. “If you’re a woman, they can also occur around the bra line,” says Pancreatic Cancer UK member Jeni Jones. The expert adds that these pains may intensify after eating a meal. She also points out that they usually don’t go away easily. Another potential symptom of pancreatic cancer is persistent indigestion. Jeni Jones points out that although most patients ignore this problem and do not associate it with the disease, its occurrence in conjunction with other common symptoms of pancreatic cancer should prompt you to go to the right doctor.

Among such other symptoms, the expert mentions the loss of appetite and sudden, unexplained weight loss. As he explains, eating problems can take many forms. For some patients, appetite may not be felt at all, and they “will not be able to take even a small amount of food or will feel full after eating small amounts of it.” Other digestive problems are also common. It can be both constipation and fatty diarrhea. In the case of the latter, fat can be observed in the stool, which gives it a yellow color. “Yellow, greasy stool that doesn’t flush (easily – ed.) can be sure that something bad is going on in the upper parts of the digestive system,” Jones points out.

Diagnostics for pancreatic adenocarcinoma should also be considered in the case of newly diagnosed diabetes or gluten intolerance. According to the AOTM data, at least one of these conditions is diagnosed in as many as 70 percent of patients with pancreatic cancer. Amylin, one of the peptides secreted by the tumor, is responsible for the coexistence of these diseases. “If you have some of the symptoms of pancreatic cancer and are suddenly diagnosed with diabetes, this should be a signal to your GP to consider pancreatic imaging,” Jones points out.

SEE ALSO: Colon cancer. How to recognize a disease that has no symptoms for a long time?

Jaundice and pancreatic cancer

Another symptom that may indicate the development of pancreatic cancer is jaundice. As Jeni Jones explains, it does not occur in all patients, but it is one of the most frequently diagnosed symptoms. – This is one of the ‘red flags’ warning – assesses the expert. She adds that it can be observed by looking at the whites of the eyes and the skin. In people with jaundice, they take on a yellow tint. A change in the shade of these organs may also be preceded by troublesome, intense itching of the skin.

Describing the less common signs of pancreatic cancer, the expert also mentions venous thrombosis and pulmonary embolism. It also lists the symptoms which, when observed in conjunction with other symptoms, should prompt you to consult a specialist. We are talking about general, hard to overcome fatigue, difficulty swallowing, nausea, vomiting, fever, chills, depression or anxiety disorders.

SEE ALSO: Huge increase in oral cancer cases. The reasons are not only smoking and alcohol

Independent, www.abm.gov.pl, aotm.gov.pl, tvn24.pl

Main photo source: TVN24

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