Pancreatic Cancer Symptoms

Pancreatic cancer symptoms are often vague when the cancer is in its early stages, and therefore the symptoms can be very difficult to correctly attribute to a specific condition. What’s more, the signs can vary based on the location and type of the cancer. Because many patients do not notice their symptoms until the cancer reaches an advanced stage, it’s important to learn to identify possible signs, pay close attention to your body and be aware of what is normal for you.

Some common pancreatic cancer signs and symptoms that can lead to a diagnosis include:

  • Jaundice, which can produce a yellowing of the skin and the whites of the eyes, as well as dark-colored urine and pale-colored stools
  • Pain in the upper or middle abdomen and back
  • Digestive difficulties, including indigestion, nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite and feelings of fullness
  • Changes in stools, such as diarrhea or pale, loose, oily and foul-smelling stools, which is known as steatorrhea
  • New-onset diabetes
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Weakness or fatigue

Additionally, advanced-stage pancreatic cancer can sometimes produce:

  • Hepatomegaly, which is enlargement of the liver and can cause a mass in the right upper quadrant of the abdomen
  • An accumulation of fluid in the belly that causes the abdomen to become swollen and distended
  • Deep vein thrombosis (blot clots that form in deep veins, often in the legs)

If you experience one or more pancreatic cancer symptoms, it does not necessarily mean that you have pancreatic cancer. Because there are many other common medical issues that can cause these or similar symptoms, an accurate diagnosis is essential. Therefore, you should follow up promptly with a health care provider who can evaluate your condition and recommend an appropriate treatment.

If you have questions about pancreatic cancer symptoms, you do not need a referral to consult with the outstanding team of experts in Moffitt Cancer Center’s Gastrointestinal Oncology Program, where we offer a full range of treatments and supportive care services in a single, convenient location. For more information or to schedule an appointment, call 1-888-663-3488 or complete a new patient registration form online.