Pancreatic cancer isn’t the most common type of cancer in the UK, but like all cancers, there’s currently no cure, so being able to spot symptoms is very important. One of the first noticeable symptoms of pancreatic cancer is pain in the back or stomach area.
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This may come and go at first and is often worse when lying down or after eating.
But not all symptoms appear in the area around the pancreas.
The colour of a person’s pee could also be an indicator for pancreatic cancer.
Having orange pee can be a sign, according to the NHS.
Orange pee can be symptom of jaundice – a condition which causes yellowing of the skin and whites of the eyes.
The health body says jaundice may also cause dark yellow pee, as well as pale-coloured poo and itchy skin.
Pancreatic Cancer UK says jaundice can be a symptom of pancreatic cancer at an earlier stage.
It adds: “But in the last few months, you may get jaundice if your liver isn’t working properly, or if your bile duct becomes blocked, stopping the bile draining.
“Bile is a fluid produced by the liver to help digestion.
“The bile duct carries bile from the liver to the duodenum.
“If you have already had a tube called a biliary stent put into your bile duct to treat jaundice, the cancer may have grown to block the stent, causing the jaundice to come back.”
Other symptoms of pancreatic cancer include:
- Feeling sick and being sick
- Changes in bowel movements (diarrhoea or constipation)
- Fever and shivering
- Blood clots
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The symptoms of pancreatic cancer can be caused by many different conditions, and are not always the result of cancer.
Jaundice can also be caused by gallstones, alcoholic liver disease, pancreatitis, hepatitis and sickle cell disease.
But if you’re concerned about these symptoms or they start suddenly, you should always contact a GP.
The NHS adds: “You may also develop symptoms of diabetes if you have pancreatic cancer.
“This is because the tumour can stop the pancreas producing insulin as it normally would.”
Causes of pancreatic cancer
The exact cause of pancreatic cancer is unknown, but there are some factors that can increase a person’s risk of developing it.
Cancer Research UK says it’s more common in older people, with almost half of all new cases being diagnosed in people aged 75 and over.
Other risk factors include:
- Smoking and smokeless tobacco
- Previous cancer
- Radiotherapy in the past
- Diet – research has suggested a possible link between red or processed meat and pancreatic cancer.
- Body weight and physical activity – being overweight or obese
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