Identify early symptoms of pancreatic cancer in women to reduce the risk

Cases of pancreatic cancer in women are increasing at a rapid pace. Recognising the early signs of pancreatic cancer is the best way to eradicate the disease.
exercises to prevent cancer
Identify early symptoms of pancreatic cancer in women to reduce the risk. Image courtesy: Adobe Stock
Dr Rajashekhar C Jaka Updated: 17 Oct 2023, 06:36 pm IST
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Pancreatic cancer is one of the rarest types of cancer that is hard to detect at the early stage. Pancreas is an organ behind the lower part of the stomach. Mostly, when a patient approaches the doctor with a complaint of pancreatic pain, the doctor finds it challenging to diagnose a pancreatic tumour due to minimum symptoms. Patients may not experience any symptoms, however, you may experience some symptoms such as loss of appetite or weight loss during the later phases.

The tumor can be detected with the help of a CT scan. Hence, whenever a patient visits a doctor with pancreatic pain a CT scan is routinely requested in order to determine the precise ailment.

Early symptoms of Pancreatic Cancer

Here are some of the common symptoms of pancreatic cancer you should know:

Back pain

An early symptom of pancreatic cancer is back pain. Mostly, a patient who is in the early stage of pancreatic cancer experiences back pain with pancreatic cramps. Although, it can lead to different complications; pancreatic cancer is the most common disease. People describe it as extreme pain, distress, or anxiety that penetrates them deeply. The pain may begin in the lower abdomen and move up to the back. While lying down worsens the pain, sitting up makes it go away. It could also get worse after eating. This is chronic and frequently felt in the center of the back. Hence, it is important for that person to consult a doctor if he is facing such an issue.

back pain
Know the early signs of pancreatic cancer. Image courtesy: Shutterstock


Another major symptom of pancreatic cancer is jaundice. Pancreatic cancer mainly blocks the duct that releases bile into the intestine. This way the ingredients of bile build up in the blood. Due to this reason, the patient gets infected with jaundice and the face and eyes turn yellow. Besides these dark urine, light-colored feces, and itching can also happen. Hence, it is recommended that if any woman is affected by jaundice he should also check with the pancreas.

Loss of appetite

Another significant sign of pancreatic cancer may be loss of appetite. People begin to lose weight as a result of losing their appetite. Due to this, the body structure changes and they start becoming feeble. Additionally, negligence can increase the chances of complications.

Light-colored poop

Change in the poop color is one of the earliest symptoms of pancreatic cancer. If any woman has pancreatic cancer, the poop color may change to greyish, light-colored. Besides these, it also starts becoming greasy. In addition to this, if there is a consistency in the color the person needs to go for a check-up.

What increases the risk of pancreatic cancer in women?

Smoking and alcohol consumption

The two leading causes of pancreatic cancer are alcohol use and smoking. This is because both smoking and drinking can escalate diabetes which is another major factor in pancreatic cancer. Hence, it is important for pancreatic cancer patients to reduce smoking and alcohol consumption as otherwise, it can become worse.

pancreatic cancer in women
What increases the risk of pancreatic cancer in women? Image courtesy: Shutterstock


Diabetes is another major risk factor for pancreatic cancer. Almost a huge number of patients who have pancreatic cancer develop diabetes. This is because pancreas creates the insulin. Therefore, the early stage of the tumor may affect the ability of the pancreas to produce insulin. Thus, the patient becomes diabetic. Hence, it is essential for women to control their diet, smoking, and drinking habit to avoid diabetes.

Treatment of pancreatic cancer

Your treatment will be influenced by your overall health, your choices, and the stage and location of your cancer. For the majority of patients, the main goal is to eradicate pancreatic cancer. If that is not a possibility, the focus may shift to improving your quality of life and preventing cancer from spreading or hurting you.
Surgery, radiation, chemotherapy, or a combination of these may be used as treatments. When pancreatic cancer has progressed and treatments are unlikely to be helpful, palliative care is the focus of care. Keeping you as comfortable as possible for as long as possible is the aim of palliative care.

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Women should be cautious!

Hence, if any woman is experiencing unexpected symptoms, it is essential for them to consult a doctor. There are various other symptoms and risk factors that can also lead to pancreatic cancer. Hence, consulting a doctor and doing the proper test is very essential. Besides these, if any woman is going for surgery, then they should opt for radiotherapy and chemotherapy rather than robotic or laparoscopic surgery.

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About the Author

Dr Rajashekhar C Jaka, Oncologist, Robotic Surgery, Manipal Hospital Whitefield, Bengaluru. ...Read More

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