What Are the Main Symptoms of Pancreatic Cancer?

When it comes to the pancreatic cancer, we usually talks about two types of the cancer: exocrine pancreatic cancers and pancreatic neuroendocrine tumors (NETs) . Although both of these tumors grow in the pancreas, as a matter of fact, they are totally different in many ways.

Signs and symptoms of exocrine pancreatic cancer

If there is any sign or symptom, it probably means that the exocrine pancreatic cancer is already there. For the early stage, there is almost no signs.

1. Jaundice and related symptoms
In general,  jaundice is considered as the first symptom of pancreatic cancer. Jaundice is yellowing of the eyes and skin, which is caused by the buildup of bilirubin. Related symptoms include dark urine, light-colored or greasy stools and itchy skin.

2. Belly or back pain
Belly pain or back pain is normal in many conditions. Pain in the pancreatic cancer comes from the press on other nearby organs and the surrounding nerves.

3. Weight loss and asitia
Never take no desire to eat as a good thing. Sometimes, it is an alarming sign of some cancer. Unintended weight loss is also terrified, which is  common and significant in the pancreatic cancer.

4. Nausea and vomiting
Nausea and vomiting after eating is a sign that the cancer has already blocked part of your stomach, so you even hardly get your food through.

5. Gallbladder or liver enlargement

When the cancer blocks the bile duct, the bile will go into the gallbladder, making it larger and this can be tested by physical exam. If the cancer has spread to the liver, your liver will also get larger.

6. Blood clots
A blood clot in a large vein, often in the leg, namely, the DVT, can be the first obvious clue of pancreatic cancer. Related symptoms include pain, swelling, redness, and warmth. If the clot breaks, and moves into the lungs, you may get the pulmonary embolism, making you hard to breathe or chest pain.

7. Diabetes
Recently, you are prone to feel thirsty and hungry, and having to urinate often.
Rarely, pancreatic cancers cause diabetes (high blood sugar) because they destroy the insulin-making cells. Symptoms can include 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.

Signs and symptoms of pancreatic neuroendocrine tumors(NETs)

NETs include severe types of tumors. Different types of tumors make different hormones, which can lead to different symptoms.

Tumors  hormones Signs
Gastrinomas  gastrin pain; nausea; loss of appetite; anemia; feeling tired; being short of breath; Zollinger-Ellison syndrome; diarrhea; weight loss.
Glucagonomas glucagon necrolytic migratory erythema; elevated blood sugar; thirsty and hungry; urinate often; diarrhea; weight loss; malnutrition; irritation of the tongue; corners of the mouth.
VIPomas vasoactive intestinal peptide (VIP) watery diarrhea; nausea; vomiting; muscle cramps; feeling weak or tired; flushing (redness and warmth in the face or neck);digesting problems.
Insulinomas insulin low blood sugar; weakness; confusion; sweating; rapid heartbeat; coma; seizures.
Somatostatinomas somatostatin belly pain; nausea; poor appetite; weight loss; diarrhea; symptoms of diabetes (feeling thirsty and hungry, and having to urinate often), and jaundice (yellowing of the skin and eyes).
Non-functioning neuroendocrine tumors unknown jaundice (yellowing of the eyes and skin); belly pain; and weight loss.


Just to be clear,  having one or more of the symptoms below does not mean you have pancreatic cancer. The diagnosis must comes after doctor’s professional exam.

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