Risk Factors/Signs and Symptoms

Research is increasing regarding what we know about Pancreatic Cancer. Scientists are learning more about its causes. Following are common risk factors for the disease:

Age/Gender - Pancreatic Cancer is most diagnosed in patients older than 55. Men develop this cancer more often than women.

Being Overweight - Overweight people are more likely to develop pancreatic cancer.

Chronic Pancreatitis - This long-term inflammation of the pancreas is linked with a slightly higher risk of pancreatic cancer.

Cirrhosis of the Liver - Studies show that cirrhosis, the scarring of the liver, seems to exhibit and increased risk of this type of cancer.

Diabetes - Pancreatic cancer is more common in patients with type 2 diabetes. In some patients, the cancer seems to have caused the diabetes (not the other way around).

Family History - Pancreatic Cancer can run in families.

Stomach Issues - Having too much stomach acid or having bacteria (H. pylori) in the stomach may increase the risk of Pancreatic Cancer.

Tobacco Products - Nearly 30% of cases are thought to be caused by smoking. People who use smokeless (spit or chew) tobacco are also more likely to get pancreatic cancer.

Work Exposure to Chemicals - Exposure at work to certain pesticides, dyes, and chemicals may increase the risk of getting cancer of the pancreas.

Signs and Symptoms

Pancreatic Cancer is very difficult to diagnose in its early stages. As the cancer grows, common symptoms exhibit such as:

Blood Clots - Sometimes blood clots form in the veins or cause problems with fatty tissue under the skin, which can travel to the lungs and cause breathing problems.

Diabetes - Pancreatic Cancer can cause problems with blood sugar levels.

Digestive Abnormalities - Stools might be pale, bulky, greasy, and float in the toilet. Other problems may include nausea, vomiting, and pain that gets worse after eating.

Jaundice - A yellow color of the eyes and skin is called jaundice. It is caused by a build-up of a substance (bilirubin) that is made in the liver. At least half of all people with pancreatic cancer have jaundice.

Pain - Pain in the abdomen or in the middle of the back is a very common sign of advanced pancreatic cancer.

Swollen Gallbladder - After an examination, your doctor may find that the gallbladder is enlarged.

Weight Loss - Losing weight is very common in patients with this cancer.

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