Pancreatic cancer begins in the tissues of your pancreas. It occurs when digestive enzymes become energetic inside the pancreas, attacking, and damaging its tissues. It can prevent you from properly absorbing nutrients from the meals you eat and producing hormones that help regulate blood sugar. There are risk factors for pancreatic cancer that can be controlled, and risk factors that cannot be.
Risk factors for pancreatic cancer can be behaviors and characteristics, but they can also be genetic. It is important to try and avoid the risk factors that you can for pancreatic cancer, because most pancreatic cancer cases go undetected until it is advanced and troublesome to treat. In the overwhelming majority of circumstances, signs only develop after pancreatic cancer has grown and begun to spread.
Symptoms of Pancreatic Cancer
Symptoms of pancreatic cancer can be hard to detect because they often relate to many other diseases. It is important to see a doctor when experiencing these symptoms, to make sure that cancer can be detected early, if that is the case. Symptoms of pancreatic cancer include:
- Abdominal pain that is also felt in your back
- Loss of appetite or weight loss
- Yellowing of the skin
- Change of color in stools
- Itchy skin
- New diagnosis of diabetes or difficulty controlling diabetes
Risk Factors for Pancreatic Cancer You Can Change
There are risk factors that you can change in order try and prevent pancreatic cancer.
- Tobacco use
- Being overweight
- Chronic pancreatitis
- Exposure to certain chemicals
Risk Factors for Pancreatic Cancer You Cannot Change
Genetic risk factors that you should know about, especially if a family member has been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer:
- Family History
- Inherited genetic syndromes