Recognise the symptoms for World Pancreatic Cancer Day

Thursday 15th November is World Pancreatic Cancer Day, an important awareness day that’s a part of the wider Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Month. 

In the UK, almost 10,000 people are diagnosed with pancreatic cancer each year, yet very few people know the signs and symptoms.

Early detection is key; currently, less than 7% of those diagnosed survive beyond five years. For those diagnosed in time for surgery, the chance of survival beyond five years increases up to 30%

The disease affects both men and women equally, with your risk increasing from the age of 45. The average age at diagnosis is 72. Almost half of all patients are diagnosed as an emergency in A&E.

Knowing the main symptoms

Knowing the main symptoms of pancreatic cancer help increase the likelihood that it can be detected as it develops in the body. If you start experiencing any persistent symptoms that are not normal for you, visit your GP.

  • Jaundice
    Yellowing of the skin and whites of the eyes. Bad jaundice may also cause skin to itch.
  • Unexplained weight loss
    If you find yourself experiencing unexplained weight loss without trying, take note and visit your GP.
  • Upper abdominal pain or discomfort
    Approximately 70% of pancreatic cancer patients first go to the doctor because of pain. It’s often described as beginning in the stomach and radiating to the upper back. It could be a sign of a tumour pressing against the abdomen or spine.
  • Mid-back pain
    This pain is often described as being felt where a bra strap would sit, and may be eased by leaning forward.
  • Indigestion
    Persistent indigestion that doesn’t respond to medication could be another symptom of pancreatic cancer.
  • Pale and smelly stools
    A change in bowel habit is one of the most recognisable signs that something is not right. Pancreatic cancer can cause bowel disturbances, resulting in large bowel movements of pale and smelly stool that doesn’t flush easily.
  • Depression
    Many patients or relatives report experiencing mood changes before being diagnosed. Mild to severe depression can often present itself – if you’ve never suffered from a severe bout of depression before, express your concerns to your GP.


Do you know the signs of pancreatic cancer? Share your experiences in the comments below





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15th Nov 2018
Thanks for voting!
Got be be lucky to get early diagnose with this its one of the worst to detect x
Margaret Hart
14th Nov 2018
Thanks for voting!
Pancreatic cancer is one of the easiest to miss as it has so many symptoms, jaundice being one of the most obvious but not the most prevalent. I have had a few frights along that line but luckily each one has been proved not so.
15th Nov 2018
Thanks for voting!
It is easy to miss Margaret and the charities I raise awareness with, Pancreatic Cancer UK and Pancreatic Cancer Action, are working hard to get GPs and all health professionals to recognise the symptoms. It can be very frightening to have tests but better than not.
13th Nov 2018
Thanks for voting!
Thank you for highlighting the symptoms of pancreatic cancer. I was diagnosed with inoperable pancreatic cancer in 2013 after having severe backache, weight loss, indigestion, abdominal pain and feeling of being full after just a mouthful of food. Fortunately I was diagnosed early before the cancer had spread and responded well to chemotherapy and chemoradiotherapy. The tumour shrank but remained inoperable. I know I am very lucky to still be well as too many people are mis diagnosed or their symptoms are ignored completely.
Thanks for voting!
Thank you for helping us to raise awareness of this cancer Jeanc11 🙂
15th Nov 2018
Thanks for voting!
I was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer last August 2018. I was jaundiced and very itchy.
Unfortunately it has spread but I am hopeful of the tumour shrinking after chemotherapy which is due to start next week. I am eating and exercising to be as fit as I can for treatment. Google was optimistic for a change! I can live with remission.

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