Olivia Williams discusses ‘bizarre’ symptom of pancreatic cancer
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Cancer Research UK advises: “Symptoms of pancreatic cancer can be vague. They can be caused by other conditions, but it’s important to get them checked by a doctor. See your GP if you have any new symptoms or symptoms that aren’t going away.” It says the symptoms vary depending on where the cancer is in the pancreas.
The Mayo Clinic explains: “Pancreatic cancer begins in the tissues of your pancreas — an organ in your abdomen that lies behind the lower part of your stomach.
“Your pancreas releases enzymes that aid digestion and produces hormones that help manage your blood sugar.”
Unfortunately, the charity says pancreatic cancer is seldom detected at its early stages when it’s most curable.“
This is because it often doesn’t cause symptoms until after it has spread to other organs,” it explains.
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The organisation notes signs and symptoms of pancreatic cancer may include abdominal pain that radiates to your back, loss of appetite or unintended weight loss, and yellowing of your skin and the whites of your eyes.
Some signs may crop up when you go to the toilet. These include having light-coloured stools or dark-coloured urine.
Other signs can include:
- Itchy skin
- New diagnosis of diabetes or existing diabetes that’s becoming more difficult to control
- Blood clots
Cancer Research explains: “Endocrine pancreatic tumours are uncommon. They are also called neuroendocrine tumours.
“Most pancreatic neuroendocrine tumours don’t produce hormones so don’t cause specific symptoms.
“Pancreatic neuroendocrine tumours that produce hormones are called functional tumours.
“The symptoms are different for each type, depending on the hormone the tumour produces.”
Pancreatic cancer UK says: “Some people see their GP several times before getting a diagnosis.”
The charity adds: “If you have unexplained symptoms that last four weeks or more, go back to your GP until you get a firm diagnosis, or a referral for tests to find out what’s causing them.”
Some lifestyle factors and certain medical conditions can increase the risk of pancreatic cancer.
For example, around 20 out of 100 cases of pancreatic cancer in the UK are caused by smoking.
Although it is not always possible to prevent pancreatic cancer, making healthy lifestyle choices could lower your chances.
The NHS recommends losing weight if you are overweight and cutting down on alcohol and both red and processed meat.
The Mayo Clinic says: “Pancreatic cancer treatment options are chosen based on the extent of the cancer.
“Options may include surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy or a combination of these.”
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