Symptoms – what you might look for if worried

If you are worried – check the following

In the manuals, when doctors write about gold standard treatment, a kindly Specialist Nurse will take us aside before we finish treatment, gives us a reassuring talk, but explains that cancer might return and what we should look for.  He/she is also supposed to give you a telephone number where you can call for as long as you want.

Now, I hear of wonderful nurses who carry this out to the letter – but did happen to you?  No, me neither.   If it did happen, then send that nurse another bunch of flowers.

November is Pancreatic cancer month, so if the publicity gets you worried, these are symptoms Cancer Research says to look out for.  If you are of a worrying disposition, I can only apologise – but know that I would really have welcomed a reassuring talk, and then would have probably put it out of my mind, until if something untoward happened.

There is screening we should undertake regularly  – but again how many were told about this?  Me neither.  But here is a timely guideline published by NHS which might remind you

Time and time again doctors say we know our own bodies best.  If you have any of the following symptoms, and you are worried – then just phone up your Oncologist or specilist nurse.

Pain in the stomach area

About 7 out of 10 people with pancreatic cancer first go to their doctors because they have pain. Pain is more common in cancers of the body and tail of the pancreas. People describe it as a dull pain that feels as if it is boring into you. It can begin in the stomach area and spread around to the back. The pain is worse when you lie down and is better if you sit forward. It can be worse after meals. Your abdomen may also be generally tender or painful if your liver, pancreas or gall bladder are inflamed or enlarged.

Jaundice

More than half of patients have jaundice when they first go to their doctors. Jaundice is yellowing of the skin and whites of the eyes. The urine is darker than normal and bowel motions may be lighter in colour. Jaundice is more common with cancer of the head of the pancreas because the tumour blocks the bile duct. This tube carries bile into the duodenum. If it is blocked the bile ends up in your bloodstream instead. Bile contains a lot of yellow pigments so it turns the skin yellow. Jaundice is a common symptom of many liver and gall bladder diseases. It is often easier to spot in the whites of the eyes rather than the skin.

More early symptoms

Other early symptoms might include loss of appetite and back pain.

Other symptoms of pancreatic cancer

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