Symptoms of Pancreatic Cancer and How to Prevent It

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Pancreatic Cancer Symptoms: include any differences in presentation between age groups (children, adults, elderly) and races if applicable.

General Symptoms


A yellowing of the skin and eyes Most commonly cause by a buildup in bilirubin, a dark yellow brownish substance produced in the liver. Normally excreted from the liver as part of a liquid called bile Bile: a bitter greenish-brown alkaline fluid that aids digestion and is secreted by the liver and stored in the gallbladder. (as defined by webster's dictionary)

Dark Urine

Light colored and greasy stools

Itchy skin Belly and Back pain

A very common symptom of pancreatic cancer because the pancreas grow large and inflamed causing it to push on other organs, and cause immense pain in the abdomen and back

Weight loss and loss of appetite

Unintended weight loss is another very common symptom, people who experience this also experience extreme loss of appetite.

Symptoms found in women

Looking four months pregnant

Pancreatic cancer causes bloating in women, as tumors in your pancreas grow larger your abdomen starts to distend, this is one of the first signs noticed by women.

Symptoms found in children

  • Being lethargic with general weakness
  • Feeling tired a large amount of the time Low blood sugar Can cause blurred vision, headache, lightheadedness, weak, shakey, and nervousness.
  • Watery Diarrhea
  • Abnormal sodium level in the blood
  • Race

African American individuals are more likely to develop pancreatic cancer than white individuals. It may be due in part to having higher rates of some other risk factors such as diabetes, smoking, and being overweight.

NOTE: when this cancer spreads it most commonly affects the liver as well as pancreas.


Give at least one medication, if possible, most do have medications that are used to treat the disease. Many different tests can diagnose this cancer.

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Physical exam

A physical examination is a routine test your primary physician performs to check your overall health.

Chest X-Ray

A chest X-ray is a painless test that uses certain electromagnetic waves to create pictures of the structures in and around your chest.

CT Scan

CT scans combine a series of X-ray images taken from different angles around your body and uses computer processing to create cross-sectional images (slices) of the bones, blood vessels and soft tissues inside your body.


Magnetic resonance imaging is a medical imaging technique used in radiology to form pictures of the anatomy and the physiological processes of the body in both health and disease.

PET Scan

PET scans are an imaging test that allows your doctor to check for diseases in your body. The scan uses a special dye containing radioactive tracers. Biopsy: An examination of tissue removed from a living body to discover the presence, cause, or extent of a disease.

Treatments for Pancreatic Cancer

Octreotide (Sandostatin)

The standard version of octreotide is short-acting and is injected 2 to 4 times a day. There is also a long-acting form of the drug (called Sandostatin LAR Depot) that only needs to be given once a month, which may help patients more than the short-acting version.

Lanreotide (Somatuline Depot)

This is a newer somatostatin analog, which is injected under the skin about once a month. It has been shown to help slow the growth of pancreatic NETs.

Pasireotide (Signifor, Signifor LAR): Another newer somatostatin, this drug is injected either twice a day or about once a month. Pasireotide is being studied for use in pancreatic NETs, although the other drugs are used more often. (chemo) uses various anti-cancer drugs injected into a vein. These drugs enter the bloodstream reaching all areas of the body, making this treatment potentially useful for cancers that have spread beyond the organ they started in.

Prevention: is there a way to prevent getting the disease? If so, how?

Dont Smoke

Smoking is the most avoidable risk factor for pancreatic cancer and is very easy to not do if you haven't already started

Staying at a healthy weight for your height and age

The answer why being active and a good diet prevents pancreatic cancer is yet clear but both of these things can help you stay at a healthy weight. Eating a healthy diet, with plenty of leafy greens. This includes at least 2½ cups of vegetables and fruits every day. Choose whole-grain breads, pastas, and cereals instead of refined grains, and eat fish, poultry, or beans instead of processed meat and red meat.

Limit alcohol use

Heavy alcohol use can lead to conditions such as chronic pancreatitis and cirrhosis, which are known to increase pancreatic cancer risk.

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