Your pancreas is a gland that is found in your abdominal cavity and lies in your stomach in the back part. It is located behind your small intestine and all of your other digestive organs. Your pancreas plays a very important part in digestion by releasing digestive juices that are important for breaking down the food that you eat. It also produces the insulin hormone. This hormone is essential for helping to keep your blood sugar level under control. On the tissues of this gland is where cancer develops from the genetic mutation of the cells.
Pancreatic cancer symptoms in women
With women, the symptoms are not visible as soon as the tumor starts to grow and is usually observed when it is in an advanced stage and the tumor is large in size. The onset of pancreatic cancer symptoms will depend on where the tumor is located. The symptoms can be seen sooner if the tumor is growing in the head of your pancreas unlike it growing in the tail or body of your pancreas. Due to the cancerous growths, there can be many problems in your gastrointestinal tract.
Some of the symptoms can include:
- Pain in your abdominal cavity in the upper part that occurs intermittently and is not a constant pain. The intensity of the pain also varies. The pain may extend to your back when the pain is severe.
- Bloating of your stomach that gives you a sense of being full after eating a meal, both large and small.
- Having a loss of appetite due to the bloating
- Fatty stools because your pancreas does not release enough of the fat digestive enzymes causing the fat in the food you eat to nor be digested.
- Jaundice due to the duct that secretes the bile into your intestine because the tumor is blocking it.
Toward the end as the cancer grows and spreads farther into your body it will start to affect the woman’s’ overall health and can cause the following pancreatic cancer symptoms.
- For unknown reasons a woman experiences weight loss that is severe
- The blood sugar levels start to increase because the production of insulin stops. When this happens you could develop diabetes.
Pancreatic cancer symptoms in men
- Fatigue and lethargy—as your tumor begins to develop it can affect the different processes that are related to the pancreatic hormones and enzymes along with the function of your pancreas. The fatigue, weakness, and lethargy are due to the fluctuation in the levels of your blood glucose and digestion that is impaired.
- Loss of weight—if there is no reason for the weight loss it could indicate a problem somewhere in your body systems.
- Indigestion—because your pancreas aids in the digestion of your food the dysfunction of your pancreas can cause many problems like gas and indigestion. The symptoms of adysfunction of your pancreas are early pancreatic cancer symptoms but they are often ignored and neglected.
- Jaundice—this happens when the bile duct is affected by the cancer and your liver function is affected.
- Pain in your abdomen—this is usually noticed in your abdomen or stomach in the upper part caused by the tumor pushing against the nerves in your abdomen area.
- Appetite change
- Diarrhea—this happens when the food you eat is not properly digested because of the absence of pancreatic enzymes, which makes your digestive system weaker.
- Pain in your back—over time the pain in your abdomen is shifted slowly to your back with the pain possibly being felt when you are lying down or after a meal.
- Nausea and vomiting—this can happen when the function of your pancreas is impaired.
- Change in the color of your stools—when a person has pancreatic cancer their stools may appear clay-colored or gray. The color of the stools will change again when the bile duct is blocked by the tumor. Your stools may also have a strange odor and you may also notice fat in your stools.
- Paleness of your skin—your skin may appear pale because of weakness and problems with your digestive system. Your eyes may also appear yellowish or white. There are even some people that have itchy skin.
- Disorders of your digestive system
- Diabetes—because your glucagons function and insulin is affected by the cancer you may experience fluctuation in your blood sugar that can be severe along with diabetes. This can also lead to muscle spasms, weakness, dizziness, etc.
- Having a fever—when a person has a fever it could be accompanied by shivering and chills and you may also feel excessively thirsty.
If you notice any of these pancreatic cancer symptoms you should see immediate medical attention to increase your chances of surviving this form of cancer with early diagnosis and early treatment.