Pancreatic cancer is the 6th most common cancer. This dangerous ailment is often called "silent" because it may not manifest itself in any way for many years.
Unfortunately, it is very difficult to recognize pancreatic cancer in the early stages of development. The hidden course of this disease is explained primarily by the peculiarities of the location of this organ.
The pancreas is located in the human body, surrounded by the spleen, adrenal glands and stomach. Therefore, the manifestations of the disease usually become noticeable only when the tumor reaches a large size.
Symptoms at the first stage of development
In the early stages of pancreatic cancer, the patient usually only occasionally notices the emerging slight soreness in the upper abdomen. Sometimes patients during this period of tumor development may be bothered by an increased body temperature.
In some cases, in the early stages of pancreatic cancer, the patient may experience yellowing of the skin. Also, during this period, people often show symptoms that are characteristic of some other diseases of the digestive tract - decreased appetite, increased fatigue, and periodic nausea.
Pancreatic cancer is detected at this stage, unfortunately, only in 5% of cases. However, the prognosis with correct diagnosis during this period is the most favorable. The patient in this case, subject to complex therapy, can live for up to 5 years.
Manifestations at the second stage
The first obvious signs of this type of cancer in patients usually appear only when the tumor begins to squeeze the organs surrounding the pancreas and penetrate them.
Depending on where exactly the neoplasm is localized, the symptoms of the disease during this period will differ. When the body or tail of the pancreas is affected, patients usually have:
- back pain in the abdomen and hypochondrium;
- nausea, weakness, vomiting, weight loss;
- muscle spasms.
If the tumor begins to develop on the head of the gland, the symptoms appear as follows:
- yellowing of the skin and eyes;
- dark shade of urine.
Very often during this period, diabetes mellitus suddenly develops in patients with pancreatic cancer.
Symptoms at the stage of metastasis
Subsequently, the patient begins to show signs of pancreatic cancer, such as:
- an increase in the size of the abdomen (in every third case);
- weight loss with the same diet;
- lethargy and apathy.
If the tumor has affected the body and tail of the gland, the patient may also experience:
- dry mouth and constant thirst;
- a sharp decrease in appetite;
- blanching of the skin and rash;
- redness of the tongue;
- the appearance of bruises on the body.
Wounds, even small scratches, at this stage in patients heal for a very long time.
The main signs in the fourth stage
At this time, the disease begins to spread in the patient to other organs. At the fourth stage of pancreatic tumor development, patients usually complain of putrid breath and severe itching. Also during this period, the abdomen is greatly enlarged in patients, the urine darkens, and the feces acquire a light color. Yellowness in patients at the last stage is manifested not only on the skin, but also on the oral mucosa.
If metastases penetrate the brain, the patient, among other things, may have decreased visual acuity and hearing, impaired coordination of movements, and confusion. On average, people with pancreatic cancer live about six months when starting treatment at stage 4.