Pancreatic cancer: The sign when eating – ‘symptoms will often go undetected’

Olivia Williams discusses ‘bizarre’ symptom of pancreatic cancer

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The symptoms will vary depending on where the cancer is in the pancreas, though there are several signs to be aware of. It is a type of cancer that starts in the pancreas, an organ near the stomach. The pancreas produces digestive juices and insulin, as well as other hormones to do with digestion. Symptoms can be caused by a variety of things, but if you are not feeling well and you have any symptoms speak to your GP .

Pancreatic Cancer Action have been asking people to share their stories and asking them some specific questions.

One is around symptoms experienced, and there have been a range of reports.

Many people reported weight loss without trying, change in toilet habits and indigestion.

Others said that they had pain on eating, newly diagnosed type 2 diabetes and extreme tiredness or jaundice.

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Symptoms of pancreatic cancer are often not clear until later stages and will often go undetected.

Dr Paul Ettlinger, GP at The London General Practice, said: “Unfortunately signs and symptoms of pancreatic cancer are usually late in manifesting and it will often go undetected with very little early signs.”

There are also a number of other common signs. Tummy pain or back pain are common symptoms of pancreatic cancer.

The pain may start as general discomfort or tenderness in the tummy area and spread to the back.

Pancreatic Cancer UK explains that the pancreas plays “an important role” in breaking down food.

It is therefore common for pancreatic cancer to cause problems with eating and digesting food.

The charity states: “Symptoms of this include feeling full up quickly when you eat, bloating of your tummy, lots of wind, and burping. But these symptoms are common problems and aren’t usually due to pancreatic cancer.”

Indigestion can also be a symptom of pancreatic cancer, causing a painful, burning feeling in your chest or a bitter, unpleasant taste in your mouth.

You should speak to your GP if you have recently been diagnosed with diabetes and have any other symptoms, as pancreatic cancer can stop the pancreas producing enough insulin, which can cause diabetes.

Sadly around one in two people will develop cancer at some point in their lives, according to the most accurate forecast to date from Cancer Research UK.

The organisation suggests that if you are over 60, have lost weight and have tummy or back pain, your GP should refer you for an urgent CT scan or ultrasound scan within two weeks.

Some lifestyle factors and certain medical conditions can increase the risk of pancreatic cancer, so you may consider cutting them out.

For example, around 20 out of 100 cases of pancreatic cancer in the UK are caused by smoking.

The NHS recommends losing weight if you are overweight and cutting down on alcohol and both red and processed meat.

The Cleveland Clinic says carrying weight around the waist is a risk factor even if you are not classified as obese. Moreover, being exposed to chemicals used by dry cleaners and metal workers, is also a risk factor.

It suggests that the average lifetime risk of developing pancreatic cancer is about one in 64.

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