The red flag sign of pancreatic cancer that appears in 86% of cases — how to spot

Characterised by an overall poor prognosis, pancreatic cancer is one of the more devastating diagnoses anyone could recieve. 

The cancer type has the lowest survival rate of all common cancers, according to Pancreatic Cancer UK.

This gloomy statistic isn’t helped by the fact that this cancer doesn’t usually cause symptoms in the early stages.

Once symptoms appear, they often strike in the tummy where the tumour resides, but other parts of your body could also ring alarm bells.

Asthenia could be your body’s subtle way of warning you of ongoing pancreatic cancer.

Also known as physical weakness, the warning sign describes a lack of energy that can target specific body parts as well as the entire body.

This symptom can take over parts of your body like arms and legs or strike your whole figure.

You may feel weak all the time or for most of the time and doing everyday things may become harder.

According to research, published in the journal Clinical and Translational Oncology, asthenia is considered one of the most “frequent” signs of pancreatic cancer.

Looking at 185 participants, the research team found this red flag sign targeted 86 percent of patients with the condition.

The Spanish scientists obtained symptom data through personal interviews, with symptoms being recorded by the attending physician upon hospital admission.

The scientists concluded that “proper attention” to warning signs and symptoms may help identify patients with pancreatic cancer at an earlier stage which is key with any cancer.

Therefore, it’s crucial to be able to identify all warning signs associated with pancreatic cancer, including:

  • The whites of your eyes or your skin turn yellow (jaundice)
  • Itchy skin, darker pee and paler poo than usual
  • Loss of appetite or losing weight without trying to
  • Feeling tired or having no energy
  • High temperature, or feeling hot or shivery
  • Feeling or being sick
  • Diarrhoea or constipation, or other changes in your poo
  • Pain at the top part of your tummy and your back, which may feel worse when you’re eating or lying down and better when you lean forward
  • Symptoms of indigestion, such as feeling bloated.

While symptoms like these don’t guarantee you have pancreatic cancer, as they can be caused by other benign conditions, it’s “important” to get them checked by a doctor, Cancer Research UK advises.


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