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.
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.
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.
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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