What Will My Dr Do about Pancreatic Cancer Symptoms

Pancreatic cancer is the 11th most common cancer in the world. Unfortunately, it also has a very high mortality rate. Even if discovered in the early stages, pancreatic cancer only has a survival rate of around 20%. This is why it is important to recognise the early symptoms of pancreatic cancer and seek medical advice.

What Will My Dr Do about Pancreatic Cancer Symptoms – Initial Consultation

The main symptoms of pancreatic cancer include abdominal pain that will spread towards the back.  Many people mistakenly believe this pain is caused by trapped wind, as it seems to intensify when lying flat on your back, but is made better by bending over.  Other symptoms of the early stages of pancreatic cancer include unexplained and sudden weight loss and the early stages of jaundice.  Jaundice presents itself as yellowing of the skin and eye balls and a dark colouration of urine.  If you experience any of these symptoms, it is important to seek medical advice as soon as possible.

Your doctor will determine whether or not your concerns are warranted by looking at whether or not the symptoms presented match those of pancreatic cancer and by checking whether you fall into any of the risk categories for pancreatic cancer.  If so, you will be sent for a series of tests.

What Will My Dr Do about Pancreatic Cancer Symptoms – Diagnosis

Diagnosis of pancreatic cancer will include thorough blood tests and testing of the functions of the liver.  Unfortunately, elevated levels billirubin, transpeptidase and alkaline phosphate can mean many other things, meaning that pancreatic cancer is sometimes overlooked.  However, if you also present other symptoms pointing towards pancreatic cancer, such as the ones described above, your doctor will most likely also send you for a CT scan and endoscopic ultrasound to check the workings of your liver and whether or not a tumour is present.

What Will My Dr Do about Pancreatic Cancer Symptoms – Confirmation of Diagnosis

Once your diagnosis has been confirmed, there are a number of questions you may want to ask your doctor such as:

  • What stage your cancer is at
  • If your cancer has spread
  • What treatment will be offered
  • What the prognosis is
  • Whether there are centres and support groups you could be in contact with
  • Whether you can get a second opinion
  • How this diagnosis will affect your everyday life
  • Whether you can access counselling

What Will My Dr Do about Pancreatic Cancer Symptoms – Treatment

Your doctor should also support you through the treatment of your pancreatic cancer.  This should be done by thoroughly explaining to you what the benefits and difficulties of the different types of treatment are and what you can expect during and after treatment.  You will be offered a range of different treatments, such as surgery, radiotherapy and chemotherapy.  The best treatment for you will be discussed and you will be fully involved in the decision making process.  Your doctor should be a source of support for you to discuss any concerns and queries you may have about the different forms of treatment and what their benefits and risks are.

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What Will My Dr Do about Pancreatic Cancer Symptoms