There are no early warning signs for pancreatic cancer. Symptoms can be so vague that you may not notice them.
Some people notice the following symptoms as pancreatic cancer evolves:
- pain in the upper abdomen and back
- nausea, vomiting, and unintended weight loss
- a burning feeling in the stomach
- inability to digest fatty foods, which can result in large, greasy stools
- jaundice (a yellowing of the skin or the whites of the eyes) and itchiness, which can be caused when a tumor blocks the common bile duct
Many of these symptoms can also be caused by other health problems that are more common than pancreatic cancer. For example, hepatitis, gallstones, and other liver problems can block the bile duct and are much more typical causes of jaundice. Tell your doctor if you have any of these symptoms.
During a medical examination, your doctor may also detect other signs of pancreatic cancer, such as an enlarged gallbladder or the sudden onset of type 2 diabetes. This sometimes happens even though you’re not experiencing any symptoms of pancreatic cancer.