It’s not known exactly what causes pancreatic cancer but there are some factors that may increase your risk. According to Pancreatic Cancer UK, these are some well-known factors:
- Being overweight.
- A family history of pancreatic cancer.
Pancreatic cancer develops when cells in the pancreas grow out of control, forming a lump. This can be in the head, body or tail of the pancreas. Pancreatic cancer is divided into two main groups:
- Exocrine tumours – about 95% pancreatic cancers are exocrine tumours.
- Endocrine tumours – endocrine cells produce the hormones that help control the level of sugar in the blood.
Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) is a type of pancreatic cancer, it develops from cells lining the small tubes in the pancreas. Pancreatic cancer often doesn’t cause any symptoms in the early stages. This can make it hard to diagnose, but as it grows it may start to cause symptoms, such as:
- Abdominal and back pain.
- Unexplained weight loss.
- Loss of appetite.
- Changes to bowel habits.
- Nausea and vomiting.
- Difficulty swallowing.
- Recently diagnosed diabetes.
These are the common symptoms of PDAC and they can be quite vague and may come and go to begin with. If you experience any of these symptoms for more than four weeks, and can’t explain why you have them, go and see your GP.
As symptoms of pancreatic cancer aren’t always very obvious it may come as quite a shock when you receive your diagnosis. To work out the best pancreatic cancer treatment for you, your doctors will look at the type of pancreatic cancer you have, the stage of the cancer, where it is in the pancreas, and whether it’s spread to any of the surrounding organs and blood vessels. They will also look at other things such as your age, and your general health and fitness. (Pancreatic Cancer UK).