Signs and Symptoms of Pancreatic Cancer

If you notice these signs or symptoms of pancreatic cancer, schedule an appointment with a pancreatic cancer specialist at Virginia Mason in Seattle. Call (206) 341-1652 for appointments.

Cancer of the pancreas has been called a "silent" cancer because symptoms of the disease develop gradually. Often the cancer is not found until it is in advanced stages or has spread to other organs.

Symptoms will depend on where the tumor is located, how large it is and whether it has spread to other sites. For example, if the tumor blocks the common bile duct preventing bile from passing into the intestines, jaundice may occur, turning the whites of the eyes and the skin yellow. The urine may also be dark in color.

As the cancer grows, it may cause pain or pressure in the upper abdomen and in the back. The pain is often worse after eating or when lying down. Jaundice or abdominal pain may occur in the majority of patients.

Other symptoms include loss of appetite, indigestion, nausea and vomiting, weight loss, weakness and itching. (Itching is associated with jaundice.)