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Cancer: Pancreatic & Liver Message Board
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Old 07-16-2008, 01:38 PM   #1
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Symptoms of Pancreatic Cancer

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?

 
Old 07-16-2008, 05:03 PM   #2
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Re: Symptoms of Pancreatic Cancer

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?

 
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Old 07-16-2008, 05:59 PM   #3
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Re: Symptoms of Pancreatic Cancer

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.

 
Old 07-16-2008, 08:28 PM   #4
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Re: Symptoms of Pancreatic Cancer

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.

 
Old 08-02-2008, 07:34 AM   #5
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Re: Symptoms of Pancreatic Cancer

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.

 
Old 08-04-2008, 03:51 AM   #6
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Re: Symptoms of Pancreatic Cancer

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.

 
Old 08-04-2008, 06:06 AM   #7
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Re: Symptoms of Pancreatic Cancer

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.

Last edited by dea4; 08-04-2008 at 06:09 AM.

 
Old 08-17-2008, 10:13 PM   #8
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Re: Symptoms of Pancreatic Cancer

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.

 
Old 09-05-2008, 11:35 AM   #9
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Re: Symptoms of Pancreatic Cancer

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.

Last edited by kd66; 09-05-2008 at 11:38 AM.

 
Old 09-05-2008, 11:59 AM   #10
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Re: Symptoms of Pancreatic Cancer

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.

Last edited by dea4; 09-05-2008 at 12:01 PM.

 
Old 09-05-2008, 12:19 PM   #11
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Re: Symptoms of Pancreatic Cancer

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!

 
Old 09-05-2008, 02:05 PM   #12
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Re: Symptoms of Pancreatic Cancer

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.

 
Old 09-08-2008, 12:15 PM   #13
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Re: Symptoms of Pancreatic Cancer

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...........

 
Old 10-15-2008, 04:45 PM   #14
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Re: Symptoms of Pancreatic Cancer

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?

 
Old 01-08-2009, 10:31 PM   #15
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Re: Symptoms of Pancreatic Cancer

Quote:
Originally Posted by dea4 View Post
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.

 
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