Early Signs and Symptoms of Pancreatic Cancer
Do not be lulled into thinking that you cannot get pancreatic cancer at a young age, if you are “healthy,” if you don’t drink nor smoke, if you don’t feel constant pain, etc. Pancreatic cancer (or any cancer) can strike at any age, gender, and even so-called healthy humans.
Pancreatic cancer symptoms come and go. You may have symptoms for a month and then feel better the next month. They come on slowly and make you think that it is all in your mind. Additionally, they often disguise themselves as something else.
Be aware of all of the signs and symptoms of pancreatic cancer and notify your doctor immediately if you think you may be at risk.
CT Scan WITH Oral and IV Contrast
The ONLY TEST that can 100% determine if you have this cancer is a CT scan WITH oral and Intravenous (IV) contrast. Your doctor may try to give you other tests, such as an endoscopy, colonoscopy, or a CT scan without contrast, but the only test that will not miss the cancer is a CT scan with contrast.
If you believe that you have been suffering for too long, do not delay getting this test. Insist on the CT SCAN WITH ORAL & IV CONTRAST.
You may be given the option to get a CT scan without contrast. The problem with this test is that there is no contrast to show the cancer cell. A radiologist may see the cancer, but he/she may also miss it.
NOTE: Medical research shows that this test may cause cancer. I suggest that if you already have cancer or are not thrilled with being exposed to radiation, you try an alternate test.
SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS OF PANCREATIC CANCER
Doctors may diagnose you with one or several of these symptoms without giving it a second thought. They will write you a prescription for anti-acid or anxiety meds and send you home.
If you have had even a short history of these symptoms, seek immediate medical attention:
- Acid reflux or GERD
- Irritable Bowel Syndrome (diagnosis)
- Back pain (unexplained)
- Stomach pain or cramps, usually in the upper stomach area below the sternum
- Green stools (dark green from bile)
- Floating stools (they don’t sink)
- Oily stools (oil rings in toilet water, also known as “fatty” stools) called”steatorrhea”
- Foul-smelling stools (very foul)
- Foul-smelling gas
- Feeling constipated, but being able to poop
- Need to have small bowel movements several times a day
- Blood in stools
- Feeling full after only a few bites of food
- Loss of appetite (can’t eat as much as you used to)
- Unexplained weight loss (not trying to lose weight)
- Yellowing of whites of eyes (jaundice)
- Feeling a tumor or lump in your stomach
- Pancreatic Panniculitis. Tender lumps, usually on the lower legs (shins), indicates a pancreas infection.
Additionally, if you have a family history of pancreatic cancer or any other cancer, you should be tested.
You should also get a DNA test for the gene that causes pancreatic cancer if it runs in your family. Ask your doctor about this test. I got one and my insurance paid for it.
ADVOCATE FOR YOURSELF
If you have had the symptoms above and want to determine if you have cancer or not, contact your doctor immediately. Explain the history of your symptoms. Insist on a CT SCAN WITH ORAL & IV CONTRAST.
Determine whether or not you have cancer before you get treatment for other ailments. Pancreatic cancer will kill you faster than later it is discovered. Finding it early is crucial. Do not delay seeing a doctor and insisting on a test for cancer.
I am so sorry about the devastating suffering and loss of your young sister. PC is such a brutal, wretched disease. I want to let you know about one other symptom of PC: pancreatic panniculitis. My mom noticed two tender lumps on her shins in Oct. 2018. She thought they might be blood clots so immediately went to the doctor, who (after confirming that they weren’t blood clots) sent to her a dermatologist. The dermatologist biopsied them and the results pointed to an infection in the pancreas. She had a CT of her pancreas and was diagnosed in Dec. 2018 with stage 1a adenocarcinoma of the pancreas. Her bloodwork was completely normal and she had NO symptoms of PC other than pancreatic panniculitis, which only lasted one week. By the time she received the results of her biopsied pancreatic panniculitis, the lumps were gone and never returned. This is a rare but important symptom of pancreatic cancer. Unfortunately, even though my mom’s PC was diagnosed “early,” it did not save her much misery. She endured a digestive-system-altering, brutal Whipple surgery with an equally brutal recovery while also enduring 10 brutal months of two different chemotherapy regimens in a clinical trial. She was hospitalized multiple times during the clinical trial but at the end, there was no evidence of disease for eight months until it metastacized to her liver. She then defied odds (but at a heavy cost) by enduring fourteen more months of profoundly miserable treatment — two different chemotherapy regimens and SBRT (radiation) — all of which failed — amid countless hospital stays during a pandemic in which she was allowed no visitors before dying three days after entering hospice in October 2021. I hope that PC will receive more government (and private) funding in the future so that real progress can be made in treatment and, someday, prevention of this devastating disease.
Thank you for this information. I will update the website immediately. This is crucial information that we all need to be aware of.
I am so sorry for your loss and that your mother had so much pain and suffering. All of these clinical trials and chemo regimes… we HAVE TO DO BETTER!! The worst part is that your mother had to die alone and I am SO SORRY that you and her loved ones had to endure that.
Thank you again for TAKING THE TIME to bring this to my attention. I am VERY grateful.
All the best,
I added this symptom to my list. This disease is brutally painful. I read your words and I feel our pain. This cancer must be stopped. And chemo! Ugh! SassE only had chemo once. Her body couldn’t take it. It was devastating watching her become so weak. Let’s keep praying for a cure.
Thank you, SassE’s family for spreading this awareness. She would be so proud that her purpose here lives on through you. She’s with you every step of the way. May Gods love surround you and the family every single day. Thank you.💖💖
Thank you for your comment, Josie.
We feel like we are doing what she wanted…making a difference in her name.
May God bless you as well!
I’m experiencing stomach and back pain, so bad on Monday I cried in pain. It’s been on and off for many weeks. I also now discovered a rash on my stomach and a odd looking rash like lump on my top inner thigh area. I’m having blood tests on Tuesday.
I love Sasse’s videos she really is missed.
I’m so sorry for this late reply. Please feel free to email me at JanesHolidays@gmail.com. I’m interested in knowing how your blood test went. I’d like to speak to you about other options.
Thank you for providing such thorough details on PC , especially doing so in the name of love for your sister
Thank you for your kind comment. 🙂 ~Jane
So sorry for your loss. I have many of these symptoms, and would love to ask a couple of questions. If they’re too personal, please don’t feel obligated.
– Did your sister have family history of PC?
– Prior to the CT scan, did she have any blood tests/sonograms that actually came back normal? This would help me know which step to take next. I’ve read cases where some other testing is normal yet the person has active PC.
You have already been so helpful. Thank you so much.
Thanks for your comment and questions. I’m here to help.
1. No, we do not have a family history of PC. This was the first case in our very large family that we are aware of.
2. Yes. All blood tests came back normal until she was diagnosed, and at that point, she was stage IV. Blood tests are useless unless a pancreatic cancer specialist is looking at them. When she was stage IV, the cancer had spread to her liver. The blood test showed a minor elevation in her liver.
If you think you may have cancer, try to get a CT Scan WITH contrast. Tell your doctor that you have several symptoms and that you want to rule out cancer. This should be a no brainer! Pancreatic cancer can strike anyone at any age.
My prayers go out to you. Please keep me posted on your status if you will.