This deadly disease is one of the most common types of cancer. The disease develops very quickly and imperceptibly, and sad statistics show that the survival rate for a malignant tumor is only a few percent. Therefore, it is so important to identify the first symptoms of pancreatic cancer and begin the necessary treatment at the initial stage. The disease occurs due to a violation of cell division due to mutations of certain genes, and the most common form of the tumor is adenocarcinoma.
Pancreatic Disease Symptoms
The manifestations of a malignant tumor are often invisible until the onset of the fourth stage of cancer. The first symptoms of pancreatic disease begin to occur when the neoplasm has grown and began to spread in the body, releasing metastases. All clinical signs depend on the size of the tumor and its location. Depending on the site of pancreatic cancer (pancreas), the symptoms are divided into:
- Pancreatic cancer of the head – jaundice, abdominal pain, loose / greasy stools.
- Cancer of the body and tail of the pancreas – a sharp decrease in weight, girdle pain in the abdomen.
Often (in 75% of cases), cancer forms on the head of the pancreas and, upon reaching the fourth stage, launches metastases, affecting other organs – the intestines, liver or stomach. Rare forms of a malignant tumor can cause other symptoms: sweating, anxiety, vomiting, ulcers, reflux, redness of the face. For any of these manifestations, you should immediately contact a qualified specialist.
Causes of oncology in men
According to medical research statistics, pancreatic cancer is a little more likely to affect older men than women. The reasons may be different: frequent, long-term smoking; improper nutrition (fatty and spicy foods); cirrhosis of the liver; excessive consumption of strong drinks; rigid diets; lack of iron; obesity etc. Men aged 50-70 years, when the first symptoms of pancreatic cancer occur, you should definitely consult a doctor.
Signs of the disease in women
According to studies, pancreatic disease in women is several percent lower than in men. However, often elderly ladies, against the background of other health problems, do not pay attention to the primary symptoms. This fact promises sad forecasts. If jaundice or pancreatitis appears in old age, which is much less common in women than in men, you should immediately visit an oncologist.
Initial symptoms of pancreatic cancer
The primary signs of pancreatic tumor include:
- enlarged liver;
- nausea, vomiting, belching;
- weight loss;
- an attack of acute pancreatitis (in adults or older men);
- pain in the abdomen.
Medical experts categorize cancer symptoms into four general manifestations:
- epigastric pain;
- food signs;
- systemic signs;
- skin rashes.
The epigastric region includes organs that primarily make up the entire gastrointestinal tract. With pancreatic cancer, one of the first and alarming symptoms is a dull girdle pain in the hypochondria, which becomes stronger closer to night. Such unpleasant sensations can be the causes of any other diseases and inflammation of the digestive tract, so patients are not always in a hurry to see a doctor using an independent or alternative treatment.
The digestive signs of cancer are often the first to appear in a pancreatic head lesion. More common are symptoms that doctors call “pancreatic-intestinal.” This is due to the fact that the neoplasm (benign or not) grows along with other important elements of the digestive system. Signs include:
- pain in the digestive tract;
- runny, greasy, pale stools;
- urine is dark in color.
Often at an early stage, the disease is accompanied by general, systemic disorders of the body, such as: weakness, heaviness in the abdomen, fatigue. Sometimes patients begin to suffer from diarrhea, signaling violations of the gastrointestinal tract. An increase in blood sugar and a feeling of internal discomfort are another sign of a malignant tumor.
One of the leading manifestations of a pancreatic tumor is damage to the skin – jaundice, accompanied by itching throughout the body. It progresses slowly, gradually changing color from yellow to green. Outwardly, jaundice is expressed by the following symptoms:
- mucous membranes and sclera are yellow;
- stool is discolored;
- the size of the gallbladder and liver is increased;
- itchy skin.
Diagnosis of an early stage pancreatic tumor
Diagnosis of identifying the first symptoms of pancreatic cancer may include a basic examination of the patient, an ultrasound scan, blood sampling for cancer markers, and computed tomography. If a malignant neoplasm is detected, a histological examination of the tumor cells is done. This procedure is performed by percutaneous puncture – the collection of the affected material from the organ. After all the procedures, the main type of treatment is prescribed – chemotherapy.