Pancreatic cancer signs and symptoms to look out for
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The pancreas is a gland found in the abdomen. Its two main functions are creating enzymes to help digest food and creating hormones like insulin to control blood sugar levels in the body. This means common symptoms of the disease are linked to digestion.
According to the NHS, there is one sign of pancreatic cancer that could occur when you are in bed.
It says you could feel pain “at the top part of your tummy and your back,” which can “feel worse” when you are lying down.
This may also be worse when you are eating, hydroxyurea elevated mcv but better when you lean forward.
If you are concerned about this symptom and it does “not feel normal for you,” it recommends seeing a doctor.
Other symptoms of pancreatic cancer affecting digestion include:
- Feeling or being sick
- Diarrhoea or constipation, or other changes in your poo
- Symptoms of indigestion, such as feeling bloated.
More general signs of the disease are:
- Itchy skin
- Darker pee and paler poo than usual
- Loss of appetite or losing weight without trying to
- Feeling tired or having no energy
- A high temperature, or feeling hot or shivery.
The NHS urges you to see a GP as soon as possible if you have “lost a noticeable amount of weight” over the last six to 12 months without trying.
It also advises medical attention if you experience other symptoms of pancreatic cancer that “get worse” or “do not get better” after two weeks.
And it says you should call 111 immediately if:
- The whites of your eyes or your skin turn yellow
- You’re being sick for more than two days
- You have diarrhoea for more than seven days
- You have symptoms that you are worried about, but are not sure where to get help.
Although anyone can develop pancreatic cancer there are certain factors that increase your risk.
These include if you are over the age of 75, or if you have certain medical conditions, such as long-term chronic pancreatitis.
Family history of the disease can also raise your chances of getting it.
However, lifestyle factors also play a part.
To lower your risk you can:
- Lose weight if you are overweight
- Cut down on how much red and processed meat (such as ham, bacon and salami) you eat
- Cut down on alcohol – avoid drinking more than 14 units a week
- Quit smoking.
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