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dea4
07-16-2008, 01:38 PM
Can anyone tell me what the symptoms are of pancreatic cancer in people you know who have had or do have it? Is it a sudden thing, no prior symptoms at all, or have there been any small symptoms that are now linked to it like stomach pain, pain in the left side when otherwise feeling and eating fine? What symptoms caused a visit to the doctor?

Mel52
07-16-2008, 05:03 PM
I can really only tell you the symptoms my best friend had. Her back was hurting kind of in the rib area. She thought maybe she had pulled a muscle throwing a saddle on her horse. She had extreme fatigue but she worked really long hours. She went to the dr and was told she was diabetic. She wasn't real interested in eating, it irritated her stomach but thought it was due to the oral insulin pills. She went back to the dr, had a scan and pancreatic cancer was suspected. She had a MRI and was diagnosed with stage IV. She didn't lose weight until 8 months later.
It seems from what I have read, alot of people don't know and the cancer is discovered during other exams. That is one of the problems with this cancer, is the late diagnosis.
You have concern for you?

dea4
07-16-2008, 05:59 PM
Yes I'm concerned. I have had stomach area pain off and on for many years. Lately it bothers me more. I have rib pain but my ribs do seem to pop when I rub on them. I have always had back problems and while I have this pain it seems my back hurts or is sore on the left side. It hurts sometimes when I turn a certain way or take a deep breath. The pain I have is sometimes dull, sometimes a sticking or pinching pain, sometimes a sore feeling. Sometimes, not always, I get a little indegestion when I have it. I woke one night and was laying on my stomach, I had the pain but when I turned to my side it went away. It seems that when I get this it lasts a couple of weeks and then subsides and doesn't really bother me much.
A few years ago my dr did some tests for H pylori and also checked amalayse and lypase, all came back normal.
It worries me every time this starts bothering me but I don't have insurance and can't afford a lot of testing.

Mel52
07-16-2008, 08:28 PM
You have had this for a really long time? By now I would think you would probably know if it were cancer as pancreatic cancer is a fast growing cancer. There are so many things that can minic the symptoms you are having. Irritable bowel syndrome came to mind. Food allergies? Gas pockets can cause pain like you describe. An ultrasound would probably be a good thing. There are those traveling services that do body scans of different body parts for very reasonable prices. In our area, sometimes through the city services. Not knowing is so scary.

ergo4
08-02-2008, 07:34 AM
My mother didn't really have any symptoms per se. She just developed what she thought was a terrible flu that ended her up in the hospital. It was during a blood test that they discovered they needed to look farther. By the time she was diagnosed the cancer had spread to many places.

I wonder if you have problems with your gall bladder. You can have stones or something like that for years and it will cause all sorts of problems from your rib cage to your back, causes indgestion as well. My mother had her gall bladder removed prior to her struggle with pancreatic cancer.

vanosterin
08-04-2008, 03:51 AM
Depends on which part of pancreas affected. for eg. A benign tumour can make your glucose be very low. Usually though abdomainal pain and weight loss.

dea4
08-04-2008, 06:06 AM
I've had some problems with my gall bladder but I'm not having any right now.
For the last few years this irritation/pain has been almost daily and sometimes I do have indegestion and nausea as well.
Irritable bowel has come to mind since I have read it can cause pain in the left upper side and also lower back pain, which I have had lately. But I don't really have constipation or diarreah (sp?) at least not often or serious. I have gotten horrible cramps prior to BM but I don't get those all the time either and usually not during the times when the left side pain is the worst. I have read though IBS can cause that kind of pain as well.
It's just is a constant worry and fear that it could be serious and I worry that it could be my pancreas. Years ago a dr told me I had gastritis. Don't know how he figured that as he didn't do tests or anything.
I have a friend that had a benign tumor on her pancreas and she was terribly nauseous but no pain. Her mother had gall bladder problems and she had the pain on the left side stomach area. I don't think this is my gall bladder though.
Thanks for all the info. I do appreciate it.

dawndawn
08-17-2008, 10:13 PM
Dear dea4, Hi my name is Dawn and I'm new to this site and came across your posts. I was diagnosed with stage IV nero endocrine tumor last april of 07. I thought I had IBS and feeling bloated alot. With the IBS i would take laxatives and feel better for about 3 weeks, then it would start all over again. This feeling was lasting longer last April 07 so I decided to go to my family doctor, he sent me for a ultrasound of the abdomen and low and behold there was a mass on my pancreas. The type of pncreatic cancer I have is very very rare, it started in the islet cells of the pancreas, if theres any good in cancer, the type of cancer I have is the slow growing less aggressive cancer. Although it was found to late I'm in stage 4 of this cancer, which has spread to my liver and surrounding lymph nodes. My last CT scan now shows a spot on my right kidney. I am 50 years old and in good health so my oncologist did surgery ( Whipple surgery ) on June 27th of 07. The tumor was so large that it was blocking the main portal vein and damaged it beyond repair. The doc's tryed to reconstruct the portal vein by using a vein from my neck, but once the reconstruction was done the portal vein just collapsed leaving it thrombosed. The doc's had to remove my entire pancreas, leaving me diabetic, and thy also removed my spleen and gall bladder, there where numorous lymph nodes that had tested positive with cancer so they were removed as well. I am enrolled in a clinical trial right now taking this drug that has showed some shrinkage in the leision on my liver, so I'm crossing my fingers and toes that there will be further shrinkage the next time I go for a CT scan, which will be Sept 3rd. Everything that I just told you here my not be your proublem, my mom had simular symptons like yours and it turned out to be her gall bladder. I don't know if I've been any help to you, I hope in away I was, but don't think about the bad and check with your doctor as soon as you can. Please respond and let me know what you find out, I'm here for you if you need any further info. The internet is an excellent tool, I'm searching things all the time. Take care and God Bless.

kd66
09-05-2008, 11:35 AM
Dawn - I sympathize with you and encourage you in your fight against pancreatic cancer.

My brother-in-law has a similar story. To answer Dea4's original question, he had some non-specific abdominal pain for several months before his diagnosis. He is an ex-marine and a builder, very strong and active. Our first hint that something was wrong came in August when my mother-in-law spent a week with him. We warned her that he would have her running around to see and do lots of things. Afterwards she said they didn't do anything. After he finished work he would just lay on the couch and do nothing. That was very uncharacteristic for him. As I said, that was in August. In October he was running a jackhammer and had severe pain in his abdomen. That is when he went to the ER. They did an ultrasound and discovered a mass in his pancreas. He was admitted immediately and went for a Whipple about a week later.

All that was in 1999 and he is still alive, not well, but working when he can.

The initial Whipple surgery was not complete because the tumor was too close to the portal vein. In early 2000 he got into a clinical trial using taxol and radiation. This shrunk the remaining tumor enough so that he was able to undergo a second Whipple operation. The recovery was slow and difficult, but he has had no recurrance of the pancreatic cancer.

To bring his story up to date, he was diagnosed with multiple myeloma in 2003 and has been battling that ever since.

So. The chances are if you have had symptoms for a year or more it is NOT pancreatic cancer, but pancreatitis might be a possibility.

And Dawn, keep fighting. Stay with the clinical trials, Phase III if possible. Some people do survive this most terrible of cancers. I pray that you are one.

dea4
09-05-2008, 11:59 AM
Thanks kd66 for the reply. I have had this pain off and on for many years. It is just more often lately. It comes and goes in intensity. Sometimes not too bad, sometimes worse, sometimes I dont' notice it at all. What is weird is that lately my rib cage hurts. Not sure what is causing that or if it is related.

Sorry your brother-n-law has been through so much. I have a friend who just went through surgery for recurring melanoma that was in her lymp nodes now. My niece went through thyroid cancer and my brother-n-law died of throat caner (the nieces father). Seems like cancer is everywhere these days.

Hang in there Dawn.

combray
09-05-2008, 12:19 PM
Wow, your symptoms sound very similar to mine. So far no one has figured out what causes mine. I have on and off again abdominal pain in my left upper side just at about the bottom of my rib cage. It started about three years ago and I had a bunch of tests, MRI, lab work etc and they found nothing. Still every now and then it will flare up for no apparent reason. It is in such a specific spot that I can't believe the doctors can't figure it out. Every time it acts up I get very worried and then in a couple weeks or a month or so it will almost completely disappear. I take good care of myself, running and hiking and maintaining a decent weight. Hope you figure this out soon and I completely understand how worrisome it can be!

dea4
09-05-2008, 02:05 PM
Isn't it weird. No dr has figured mine out either. I have no insurance so I haven't had an MRI or ultrasound done, but I have had this off and on for years. I first remember having it about 17 years ago, then not for years then again, then not and so on. Lately though it stays around most the time. I may have a few days or a month or so where I don't notice it and then it is back. Odd.
One dr said it is gastritis and once I found some information on gastritis that sounded a lot like what I have but I don't remember where that was and I can't find it back.

k2626
09-08-2008, 12:15 PM
Dea--My dad was dx with PC in May and passed away 3 weeks ago. He had developed diabetes last yr which was a red flag. His appetite decreased, had back pain, diarreha, and was very fatigued. They finallly caught it (very late in the stage) by accident via an xray of his chest. He had all the symptoms but his idiot doctor never thought to have an ab ultra sound or CT scan.

If you are worried, chalk up the money and get a ultra sound done. Do not comprimise your health by not running tests...........

jschlosser
10-15-2008, 04:45 PM
Two weeks ago, I woke up with pain in my upper right abdomen, just under the lower rib going straight through my back. It felt like someone had run me through with a telephone pole. I didn't go to work right away, hoping it would settle down but it didn't and I went ahead on in to the office. I ended up coming home early because I couldn't breathe normally, just really shallow breathing while sitting. Yawning was excrutiating. I thought I would be able to tough it out until I could get to the doc the next day but ended up in the ER where they told me they thought it was my gallbladder, did a bunch of tests and had me follow up with radiology and my primary care the next day. The pain started on a Tuesday and didn't completely let up until that Friday.

In the few days leading up to this, I noticed that my stool was almost white and that there was a lovely swirly rainbow oil slick on top of the water. This happened a few more times after the pain started. Also after the onset of the pain, I had several instances of my urine looking like someone emptied a coffee pot or an orange soda into the toilet.

Nothing showed up on the sonogram and my blood and urine work from the ER were all normal. I saw two different docs who looked at the same stuff and the best that they could come up with was that I ate something that made my stool white and left the oil slick, I had some sort of stomach bug to give me the 4-day belly ache, and that a UTI could have caused my urine to turn orange and brown - and that it all happened at once.

Anyone else run into this?

gregles
01-08-2009, 10:31 PM
I've had some problems with my gall bladder but I'm not having any right now.
For the last few years this irritation/pain has been almost daily and sometimes I do have indegestion and nausea as well.
Irritable bowel has come to mind since I have read it can cause pain in the left upper side and also lower back pain, which I have had lately. But I don't really have constipation or diarreah (sp?) at least not often or serious. I have gotten horrible cramps prior to BM but I don't get those all the time either and usually not during the times when the left side pain is the worst. I have read though IBS can cause that kind of pain as well.
It's just is a constant worry and fear that it could be serious and I worry that it could be my pancreas. Years ago a dr told me I had gastritis. Don't know how he figured that as he didn't do tests or anything.
I have a friend that had a benign tumor on her pancreas and she was terribly nauseous but no pain. Her mother had gall bladder problems and she had the pain on the left side stomach area. I don't think this is my gall bladder though.
Thanks for all the info. I do appreciate it.


My sister and 2 of my friends had many problems off and on for years from their gall bladder. It can take years and years for it to finally go out. Once they had it out, they were completely fine. My sister had a blocked duct to her liver from a gall stone. That is a very big possibility and also more likely than cancer. I would go down this road before you assume the worst. It might end up being an easy fix. Really you don't want to deal with the emotions of cancer if you don't have to. I would start by eliminating the obvious things first.

vh90453
01-09-2009, 01:37 AM
I might be wrong but I was under the impression the pancreas is on the right side. I had an abdominal ultrasound and mine is on the right side.

dea4
01-09-2009, 06:12 AM
I might be wrong but I was under the impression the pancreas is on the right side. I had an abdominal ultrasound and mine is on the right side.

It is actually suppose to be in the center to left side. The large part is in the center and the tail extends to the left behind the stomach.

dea4
01-09-2009, 06:15 AM
My sister and 2 of my friends had many problems off and on for years from their gall bladder. It can take years and years for it to finally go out. Once they had it out, they were completely fine. My sister had a blocked duct to her liver from a gall stone. That is a very big possibility and also more likely than cancer. I would go down this road before you assume the worst. It might end up being an easy fix. Really you don't want to deal with the emotions of cancer if you don't have to. I would start by eliminating the obvious things first.


Thanks for the info, For the last few months the pain has been mild to non existant. I have noticed if I take a pain killer for a headache like advil then the pain seems to appear. Makes me wonder if it is something with my stomach since advil is metabolized in the stomach unlike some that are metabolized in the liver. I don't take advil too often, only when I have a really really bad headache.

vh90453
01-10-2009, 12:51 AM
I stand corrected, I was thinking of the liver. I can relate to your discomfort. I have been diagnosed with mild gastritis, a small hiatus hernia, reflux and IBS. The doctor came up with the diagnosis after a colonoscopy and endoscopy. I take nexium which has taken care of the stomach symptoms. The IBS comes and goes and I don't always have a change in bowel habits with it. The worst part for me is the flatulence, so embarrassing. Considering how long you've had the symptoms I doubt that it's anything serious. All the best.

cgravning
12-03-2011, 09:56 PM
I had Pancreatitus back in April 2011. I stayed in the hospital for a few days stayed with the lowfat diet and everything seemed ok. Then in August the pain started coming back in my upper left abdomen and back. I went to the doctor they did a CT scan and blood tests all came back fine. I thought maybe phantom pains from before or somatic due to stress. Now however the last month things have gotten bad. My upper left abdomen is constantly hurting it is strange it is both dull and sharp. I have pain in my left shoulder and in my back though that is not constant. My abdomen right under my rib cage feels heavy all the time. I have not been sleeping well due to it. It has also started swelling slightly. When I lie down the bump is more visable. I am also exhausted seriously the smallest thing has me taking a two hour nap. I do itch but I am not yellow or anything. My bowel movments differ sometimes normal sometimes diarhea. Sometimes very small and once my poop was half gray but the rest normal. I am going to see a specialist about this. But last time they said it was nothing now it is worse. Can can anyone give me ideas about what might be going on. I am only 27 so I don't think pancreatic cancer is really possible yet.

ang76
12-10-2011, 03:39 PM
Cgravning,
I had all the same symptoms as you had about 8 weeks ago, felt exactly as you described but, my amylase was 43 and my lipase was 5. I have had these stomach, left rib, chest, and mid. left back pains ever since. The severity comes and goes but is always there. Can you still have Panc. issues with below normal lipase?

Cali76
12-19-2011, 10:31 AM
Hi all,
I was diagnosed with a 1.2 cm pancreatic mass in 2008 when I went to my doctor for complaints of upper abdomen and back pain. My MD was sure it was my gall bladder because I'd just had a baby and thus sent me to ultrasound. The call I received to inform me I had to go back to get a CT scan due to this odd mass was simply terrifying. I was referred to a gastro who has assured me it is unlikely I have cancer, but he did not order an aspiration. Since 2008 I've had pain on and off and I've been monitored via CT scan & MRI every year. In 2010 I had no change in the size from 2008. Now, the pain that begins in my upper abdomen and extends to my back is back with a vengeance and is taking over my days. It's been constant for week. When I called my gastro, he ordered another MRI, which is scheduled on 1/5/2012. I am terrified I'm going to hear bad news. My little boy is only four, what if I have cancer now? I am also insecure about the way my gastro has handled my case. Should I have expected an aspiration? The shock of learning about this sort of froze my ability to advocate for myself and I never demanded an aspiration; I've just gone with the flow of what the doctors say I should do. I'm worried, please give me feedback. Wish me luck too! I am trying to enjoy my holidays.

cookierac
01-08-2012, 01:13 PM
I started having stomach discomfort in August 2010. I figured it was a bug I had caught while in Vegas for my brothers wedding.  I completely lost my appetite, dizzy, fatigued, and was nausea constantly.  I went to the doctor and they ran blood tests and said everything was normal. I changed my diet to less caffeine and barely any fast food.  I've been on and off Omniprizole, Prilosec, etc and they have seemed to help somewhat but the second I get off the pain comes back.  The pain and discomfort is always right on or just below my left rib.  I have noticed my rib is very swollen on that side. I asked my dr about the gallbladder and he said the pain was on the wrong side, that it would be on the right side if that was the case.  I rotate from having a raging appetite that can't be fulfilled to where I recently threw up after no appetite for a week.  I have started having diarrhea off and on and nausea from time to time.  I have constant gas everytime I eat with belching which is very embarrassing. I am also extremely fatigued lately.  I also have blood with fatty stools which i believe is due to my hemmoroids. I had a H Pylori test done and updated bloodwork and everything was normal so I don't think it could be an ulcer.  I am 27 so I don't think it would be cancer and plus wouldn't it have shown up in blood work if it was.  Cancer does run in my family but mostly breast.  What is going on?! I don't have much money to be exploring dead ends with this stomach stuff. Any help would be great!

larkar
01-13-2012, 01:52 PM
My husband appeared very healthy, was water skiing in August and died in February from pancreatic cancer - 55 days of being ill.

His only symptom was a very painful blood clot in his leg, which caused him to have a stroke and, after the Dr. treated him with blood thinners and he had a second stroke, the Dr. did a cancer workup on him and found cancer up and down his spine and other places. Then, after searching for the origin of the cancer, they found it to be the pancreas.

One of the symptoms is a low back pain, which caused a friend to see a Dr. and found pancreatic cancer in 1st stage. Another symptom is jauntice (yellowing of the skin).

getkicksonrte66
04-25-2012, 05:34 PM
I did not read all posts but my thought was Gallbladder --possibly gallstones?

voyager80
07-10-2012, 05:58 AM
I am speaking as a daughter. My mum lost her battle to pancreatic cancer a year ago. At the beginning, her symptoms were very vague. To be honest we all thought it was stress, as my mum had a very hectic work schedule, and always on the go. She was never at a doctors for anything until then.

Anyway, after afew weeks of feeling run down, and a noticable weight loss over a month (approx) (my mum only weighed 7stone normally, so was very noticable). finally went to her doctor, who at first diagnosed acid reflux (due to a dull pain in centre chest) i cant tell you the medication but, after a week on these tablets it was clear that there was a tinge of yellowness to her skin, and blood tests were ordered to decide if gallstones were the culprit.

Afew days later with jaundice spreading fast, and eyes now yellow, the doctor phoned at work (we were a family business) to advise that my mum get to hospital ASAP. Never a good sign.....right!!!!

We were told that there was a blockage in the bile duct causing a build up of billburin(sp) and that it was still likely that a gallstone was blocking the duct. We were releived that a simple op would sort this problem, but unfortunately after scans, u/s, MRI, blood tests, etc,that a tumour had been found on the duct and was attached to the pancreas and liver. A stent was placed releiving the blocked duct, and the jaundice settled.

I must say at this stage we all felt so much better, as my mum didn't 'LOOK' ill. at this stage also we hadnt been told if the tumour was malignant or benign. It was after a weel in hospital, and after a liver biopsy, that my dad visited me at home to tell me it was cancer. To say i was crushed was an undersatement. My mum wasnt just my mum, but my best freind in the whole world. So the thought of loosing her wasnt an option.

This was just before Christmas 2010. After recovery from ops etc, mum came home on Christmas eve for two days, and then was re admitted for further testing. We had no idea that my mum had been given a prognosis of 2 weeks to live. She kept it to herself to avoid us any more upset, which i find totally unremarkable, but that was just my mum.

my mum did extremely well lasting to july 27th 2011. The weight loss was very rapid in the last two months, as was the eating deterioration. I was her full time carer in the last few months, as my family were not able to deal with the changes occuring. I found it heartbreaking, soul destroying, but I woouldnt have had it any other way. She was my rock, and i was determined id be hers too no matter how hard.

Sorry this has been such a long post, and maybe not the answer to the question, but i thank everyone who has read it to the end. And if i can help anyone going througha similar experience, id be only too happy to halp.

Thanks again, good luck to everyone going through the illness, supporting a loved one, or just looking for info.

Michelle

xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

BobTh
03-04-2013, 11:05 PM
I first got into the Health Boards because I have pancreatic cancer that can't be removed by surgery, and I couldn't find any doctors or textbooks that were willing to say what I can expect to happen. Boards like yours are the only way to find even second-hand reports on what kinds of things people experience. I'll tell what has happened in my case so far---how it was discovered, what has been done, and the symptoms that have come up so far.

The first thing I noticed was pain in the middle of the back. A dull pain, maybe 2 on a scale of 10. For many months I thought it was just arthritis. But dull or not, any pain rises on the scale if it interferes with the quality of life, and this one made it hard for me to sit in chairs. That's what finally led me to see my primary care doc about the pain last August (2012). I knew there are many internal organs at that level in the body (stomach, lungs, kidneys, pancreas, intestines, spleen), and I wondered if one of them might be going bad. The doc poked and squeezed and listened with his stethoscope; he ordered tests of blood, feces, urine; and he found nothing to fasten on. So he told me to wait and watch. That I did, and by early November I couldn't find a position in bed that would let me sleep. So I talked to him again, and this time he ordered a CT scan. It showed a tumor 2 inches across in the head of the pancreas. And with that news all hell broke loose. A PET scan revealed that it's cancerous and had spread to nearby lymph nodes. My primary doc referred me to a nearby cancer research hospital with an international reputation. They did more tests and told me the tumor is too involved with major blood vessels to be removed without me bleeding to death. So I'm stuck with the tumor, and unless I get chemo or radiation therapy to slow and shrink the tumor, it will kill me in months. With chemo, I might have a year or more.

They also told me the liver normally dumps yellow bile into the small intestine by way of a bile duct system, and the bile helps to digest fats. In so doing, the bile turns the feces brown. But the tumor had blocked that off, so now the bile would make its way into the blood stream to the kidneys, to be released in urine. Along the way, the bile would turn my skin and eye-whites yellow (a condition called jaundice). That's exactly what happened in my case. The bile duct system in the liver was backed up, swollen, filled up with stones and other debris. Plainly it had to be drained and reconnected with the small intestine. So the docs put a tube in my side that let them drain off the bile into an external pouch. Then they set up a bypass called a stent, that let the bile drain into the small intestine once more.

Before that could happen, though, bacteria in the backed-up bile duct multiplied and grew into an infection that gave me chills and a high fever. That was cured by antibiotics.

Next happening was that the tumor caused fluid to escape from the bloodstream into the abdominal cavity. That kind of fluid is called ascites. It swelled up my belly til it was right as a drum, and made it almost impossible to eat---whatever I ate or drank raised the pressure, so material in the stomach tried to get back out by the process called reflux. It felt as if a gas bubble in the stomach were trying to get back up the esophagus. When some stomach juice did come out, it burned because of the stomach acid. Some people call it heartburn for that reason. Since I could only eat small amounts, such as a packet of instant oatmeal, I began to lose a lot of weight. Of course I was malnourished; my arms are skin and bones now, even as gravity and pressure force some of the ascites down into the feet, ankles, and calves, making them look fat as a baby's. I'll starve to death at this rate. And the ascites pressure caused another change: it shifted the pain from the back to the belly, where it manifests as intense, even agonizing gas pains that require opiate drugs.

So obviously, I need to get rid of the ascites fluid. Docs have drained it twice so far, getting about 10 pounds each time. They put in a long needle and pump the fluid out by hand.

Then finally in mid-February I got into chemotherapy. But before that, the doc decided on a second CT scan to see how the tumor is doing. The result was a shock. In the two months since the pancreatic tumor was discovered, a second pancreatic tumor had been spawned in the liver and grown to 2 cm in diameter. That's extremely rapid growth, and it told the docs that my cancer is much more aggressive then they figured. So I'll need an aggressive chemo regime to fight it. That's what I'm into now: a treatment called FOLFIRINOX, which has been shown to shrink pancreatic tumors in most people. Hopefully in me. The chemo agents themselves create symptoms that interfere with judging what the tumors are doing, but after a few rounds of chemotherapy the docs will take more scans and see how well it's working.