NWCR
Putting our region's cancer needs first

Pancreatic Cancer

There are around 10,300 new pancreatic cancer cases in the UK every year. 31% of cases of pancreatic cancer are preventable. Make sure you know the signs, symptoms, and risk factors.

PANCREATIC CANCER IN OUR AREA

There are disproportionately high rates in the North West and North Wales, with incidences of pancreatic cancer being 37% higher in
Wrexham than the national average.

 

TYPES

There are more than 30 areas within the head and neck where cancer can develop. This includes: mouth and lips; larynx; throat; salivary glands; nose and sinuses. Mouth cancer is the most common type of head and neck cancer.

 

SYMPTOMS

Symptoms of pancreatic cancer can be hard to spot and early pancreatic cancer may not have any symptoms. It’s vitally important
that if you notice any of the following symptoms, you have them checked as soon as possible.

  • Pain in the stomach which may spread to the back. The pain could be worse after eating and when
    laying down but may get better when you lean forward
  • Jaundice, causing a yellowing of the skin and whites of the eyes
  • Darker colour urine than normal
  • Lighter colour bowel movements
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Loss of appetite
  • Itchy skin
  • Feeling tired or having no energy
  • A high temperature, or feeling hot or shivery
  • Indigestion, such as feeling bloated

Many of these symptoms will not be pancreatic cancer but it is best to see your GP if you have the symptoms outlined.

 

RISK FACTORS 

It is possible for anyone to get pancreatic cancer and it is not always clear what causes it. However, you might be more likely to get it if you are over 75 years of age, have had certain medical conditions, such as long-term chronic pancreatitis, or there is a history of pancreatic cancer in your family.

There are also links between many pancreatic cancers and lifestyle and you could lower your chances of getting it by making healthy changes such as cutting down on red and processed meats, limiting alcohol intake to less than 14 units a week, quitting smoking and losing weight if you are overweight.

 

DIAGNOSIS

Diagnosing pancreatic cancer involves tests and scans. If any of these tests are required, you will be referred to a specialist by your GP. 

These tests can include blood tests and scans such as ultrasound scans (sometimes from inside your body using an endoscope), CT scan, PET scan, or MRI scan or ERCP test. A specialist may need to collect a small sample of cells from the pancreas to be checked for cancer. This is called a biopsy. A small operation looking inside your stomach, called a laparoscopy, may be carried out. 

These tests can also help find problems in other nearby organs such as the bile ducts, gallbladder, or liver.

 

TREATMENT

Pancreatic cancer can be difficult to treat and treatment options will depend on the size and type of the pancreatic cancer present, the location, whether it has spread and your general health. 

Treatment options may include surgery, chemotherapy, radiotherapy and supportive care.

 

If you have any concerns about the signs and symptoms of pancreatic cancer, please visit your GP. 

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