Pancreatic cancer is more common in older people, and in the past 10 years, pancreatic cancer rates have increased. It is a type of cancer that starts in the pancreas, an organ near the stomach. The pancreas produces digestive juices and insulin, as well as other hormones to do with digestion. Symptoms can be caused by a variety of things, but if you are not feeling well and you have any symptoms speak to your GP .
Pancreatic Cancer UK explains that the pancreas plays “an important role” in breaking down food.
It is therefore common for pancreatic cancer to cause problems with eating and digesting food.
The charity states: “Symptoms of this include feeling full up quickly when you eat, bloating of your tummy, lots of wind, and burping. But these symptoms are common problems and aren’t usually due to pancreatic cancer.”
Indigestion can also be a symptom of pancreatic cancer, causing a painful, burning feeling in your chest or a bitter, unpleasant taste in your mouth.
READ MORE: The longest you should go without showering during winter – expert issues warning
There are also a number of other common signs. Tummy pain or back pain are common symptoms of pancreatic cancer, says Pancreatic Cancer.
“The pain may start as general discomfort or tenderness in the tummy area and spread to the back,” it adds.
The organisation suggests that if you are over 60, have lost weight and have tummy or back pain, your GP should refer you for an urgent CT scan or ultrasound scan within two weeks.
Losing your appetite and not feeling like eating can be a symptom of pancreatic cancer.
Pancreatic cancer can cause jaundice by blocking the bile duct.
You should also speak to your GP if you have recently been diagnosed with diabetes and have any other symptoms, as pancreatic cancer can stop the pancreas producing enough insulin, which can cause diabetes.
Pancreatic Cancer says: “Fatigue is when you feel very very tired. It isn’t the same as just feeling tired, it can be exhausting and draining.”
If you have fatigue that is a sign and you should speak to your GP about what may be causing it and if there is anything that can help.
It is possible that you are experiencing some symptoms because of another illness you might suffer from.
That is why it is necessary to get examined by a GP or a medical professional when you develop new symptoms or if your symptoms change and get worse.
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.”
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.