Pancreatic Cancer Specialist Nurse, Pancreatic Cancer UK
Despite being the deadliest common cancer, only 8% of people can name the most common symptoms of pancreatic cancer.
Approximately 80% of people with pancreatic cancer are diagnosed too late for life-saving treatment. That’s because the symptoms are often vague and unrecognised. And GPs don’t have access to the tools needed to diagnose pancreatic cancer early enough for treatment to be possible.
Early diagnosis can save people
Despite being the deadliest common cancer, only 8% of people can name the most common symptoms of pancreatic cancer. That means people might delay seeking help, not knowing the symptoms could be a cause for concern.
If you know the symptoms of pancreatic cancer, it means there’s a better chance you, or someone close to you, gets diagnosed early enough for treatment.
The symptoms of pancreatic cancer include:
- Tummy pain or back pain
- Changes to your poo — including diarrhoea (runny poo) constipation (when you find it harder to poo) or large, pale, smelly, floating poo
- Unexplained weight loss
- Jaundice (yellow skin or eyes and itchy skin)
- Loss of appetite
Someone with pancreatic cancer may not have all the symptoms listed, as they can vary for each person. If you have any of these symptoms and you don’t know why you have them, go to your GP, or contact NHS 111. If you have jaundice, go to your GP or A&E straight away. Remember that symptoms could be due to more common causes, but it’s important to get them checked out.
Approximately 80% of people with pancreatic cancer are diagnosed too late for life-saving treatment.
Working to improve early diagnosis
Late diagnosis is one of the biggest issues in pancreatic cancer. Sadly, more than half of people diagnosed with pancreatic cancer die within three months.
Pancreatic Cancer UK is funding cutting-edge research to develop new ways of detecting pancreatic cancer earlier, which could save thousands of lives every year. We’re also working to improve treatments for pancreatic cancer to make them kinder and more effective.
A diagnosis of pancreatic cancer can be a terrible shock. But you don’t have to face it alone. Our specialist nurses are here to support everyone affected now.