Lifestyle

Pancreatic cancer symptom: Tummy pain that could be tumours ‘pressing on the stomach’

Survival rates for pancreatic cancer are low. The disease is hard to spot and treatment is difficult. Some experts suggest that signs of it can be spotted and the earlier they are, the better

Person clutching their abdomen
There are signs to look out for that could mean a tumour is pressing on the stomach

Pancreatic cancer is known as one of the most difficult and worst cancers a person can deal with.

Survival rates are very low and only around 5% of patients with the disease survive for 10 years or more, according to data from Cancer Research UK, though it should be noted that this is across a broad spectrum of ages.

With this particular form of cancer so difficult to treat and seemingly with such an effect on its patients due to the low survival rates, recognising signs and symptoms early on is vital for patients with the disease.

Reports suggest that three sensations can indicate a tumour pressing on the stomach.

So what are the signs and how can they be spotted?

What are the signs of pancreatic cancer?







Nausea and vomiting, indigestion and bloating are signs to look out for
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Image:

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Feelings of nausea, indigestion and feeling bloated could be signs of pancreatic cancer from tumours pressing on the stomach.

These are not normally serious symptoms for people to worry about and is one of the reasons why pancreatic cancer can go undetected for so long.

People should go and see their GP if they think anything is wrong and they may note things like unexplained weight loss as well.

A person with a family history of the disease should also be more cautious.

An expert from Johns Hopkins Medicine said to the Express : “Extreme tiredness may be a sign of pancreatic cancer, but it’s also a common sign of other conditions.

“Either way, unexplained fatigue should not be ignored.”

It may be easier for patients to notice other symptoms, which the NHS describes as the following:

  • Jaundice
  • Feeling tired
  • Loss of appetite
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • High temperature or feeling hot and shivery

Digestion problems, meanwhile, can include feeling or being sick, diarrhoea, constipation or changes in your poo and indigestion or feeling bloated.

Patients have also reported pain at the top part of their tummy and back made worse when lying down, or made better when leaning forward.

Why is pancreatic cancer so hard to treat?







Pancreatic cancer cells can be difficult to get rid of
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Image:

Getty)

Pancreatic cancer can be both hard to detect and very difficult to treat as tumours in the organ often do not respond well to treatment.

Orlando Health said: “Pancreatic cancer tumours don’t respond as well to commonly used cancer therapies as other, less lethal types of cancer.

Around 10% of patients, according to data from Cancer Research UK, have surgery to remove the tumour, while 28% are given chemotherapy and just 5% have radiotherapy.

Despite this, research into the diseases has been described as ‘underfunded’. Pancreatic Cancer UK claims it only receives 3% of the UK cancer research budget.

They said: “Research into pancreatic cancer does not get the focus it needs. It has not been prioritised by governments, funders and researchers for many decades resulting in inadequate investment.”

The pancreas is an important part of our digestive system that makes enzymes. These are used to help us break down the food we consume so our body can absorb it and it also makes hormones, like insulin, which control blood sugar levels.

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