Early Detection of Pancreatic Cancer: Signs Experienced by 75% of Patients

Written by Henrik Rothen

Feb.08 - 2024 3:17 PM CET

Photo: Shutterstock.com
Photo: Shutterstock.com
Early Detection of Pancreatic Cancer.

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Pancreatic cancer is among the most elusive cancers, with nearly 67,000 new cases diagnosed annually in the U.S. Despite emerging treatments, early detection remains crucial for a chance at recovery. So, how can we identify early signs that our pancreas may be in trouble?

1. Symptoms of Pancreatic Cancer

A significant 75 percent of patients in the early stages report experiencing:

  • Chronic fatigue,

  • Poor mood,

  • Persistent skin itching,

  • Dull pain in the upper abdomen and/or middle or upper back (pain may come and go),

  • "Pale" and loose stool.

While these symptoms could indicate various conditions, it's critical to investigate if they might be signs of pancreatic cancer.

More distinctive symptoms of pancreatic cancer include:

  • Yellowing of the skin and eyes (jaundice),

  • Bleeding from the stomach or intestines,

  • Increased thirst,

  • Dark yellow urine,

  • Changes in bowel habits,

  • Pain while eating,

  • Bloating, nausea, indigestion, heartburn,

  • Swallowing difficulties,

  • Sudden weight loss,

  • Fever,

  • Abdominal swelling.

Persistent symptoms should always prompt a consultation with a healthcare provider.

2. Risk Group

Pancreatic cancer most commonly affects individuals over 75 years old, with cases in those under 40 being rare. Age, while significant, is not the sole factor; smoking, chronic pancreatitis, obesity, diabetes, a diet high in saturated fats, and a family history of pancreatic cancer also contribute to risk.

3. New Hopes in Treatment

Researchers from Hong Kong Baptist University (HKBU) have found that isoliquiritigenin, a flavonoid derived from licorice, possesses anti-cancer properties and can inhibit pancreatic cancer progression by blocking autophagy.

Mouse studies have shown isoliquiritigenin to be more effective at reducing tumor size than chemotherapy, with significantly fewer side effects.

Further research, this time involving human subjects, is planned. If outcomes meet expectations, managing pancreatic cancer in the future could become more feasible than it is today.

Don't wait to consult a doctor if you experience these symptoms.

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