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Pancreatic Cancer - Symptoms

Pancreatic cancer usually doesn't cause symptoms at first. It's silent and painless. Symptoms usually don't begin until the cancer has spread. They may include:

  • Pain in the upper belly or back.
  • Jaundice. This yellowing of the skin and whites of the eyes can happen when the growing tumor presses the bile duct closed.
  • Unexpected weight loss.
  • Loss of appetite.
  • Extreme tiredness.

Of course, there are other conditions that cause these symptoms, so they don't necessarily mean you have cancer. But it's important to talk to your doctor if you have any of these problems.

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Understanding Pancreatic Cancer -- the Basics

The pancreas is an organ located behind your stomach next to the top of the small intestine. It is about six inches long but is less than 2 inches wide and functions as two separate organs. It has two big manufacturing jobs in the body: It makes digestive juices that help the intestines break down food. It produces hormones -- including insulin -- that regulate the body's use of sugars and starches. The pancreas is divided into three sections: the head, the body, and the tail. The...

Read the Understanding Pancreatic Cancer -- the Basics article > >

    This information is produced and provided by the National Cancer Institute (NCI). The information in this topic may have changed since it was written. For the most current information, contact the National Cancer Institute via the Internet web site at http:// cancer .gov or call 1-800-4-CANCER.

    WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

    Last Updated: January 14, 2014
    This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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