Itching Pancreatic Cancer Symptoms

Nobody wants to believe they have pancreatic cancer for obvious reasons as with an official diagnosis the sufferer often feels like they have been given a death sentence. This is only true however if the cancer is not detected until it is in an advanced state as it can be cured if it is caught early enough. For this reason it is a good idea to become familiar with the symptoms of pancreatic cancer and get tested for the disease if you experience any of them.

How does Itching relate to Pancreatic Cancer?

There are many things that can cause itchy skin.  Irritants, stress, allergies and skin conditions can all cause people to feel an itch sensation but whilst most of these are non fatal ailments itching could also be related to pancreatic cancer.

Itching is a common if unusual pancreatic cancer symptom.  It usually occurs when the tumour blocks the head of the pancreas which stops bile from being able to travel through the bile ducts.  This in turn leads to the bile acid accumulating in the skin which causes itching.  Although itching on its own does not constitute pancreatic cancer, when it is combined with other symptoms such as jaundice or abdominal pain it can lead to a doctor sending you for further tests which can lead to a faster diagnosis.

What are the Itching Pancreatic Cancer Symptoms?

People suffering from itching pancreatic cancer symptoms will feel an uncomfortable and continuous itching sensation on their skin.  The itching will generally not go away even when topical skin lotions are used, and is often more severe than that of a skin condition.  Itching is usually accompanied by a form of jaundice as the bile that has accumulated in your skin causing it to itch will also turn the skin yellow.

Remedies for Itching Pancreatic Cancer Symptoms

Itching pancreatic cancer symptoms can be very uncomfortable and hard to treat without treating the underlying cause.  However there are a few remedies that can be taken which help to lessen the uncomfortable sensations:

  • Antihistamines like Benadryl and Zantac
  • Cholestyramine  - this helps the body to excrete excess bile salt
  • Steroids
  • 5HT3 medications like Anzemet and Zofran
  • Doxepin and Paxil – antidepressants


Some of the above will need a prescription from your doctor.  Sometimes treating jaundice can also help to relieve the itching pancreatic cancer symptoms and the main way to do this is by inserting a tube or stent into the bile duct to drain bile from the liver.  A surgeon may also attempt to surgically bypass the blockage although whether this is possible will depend on how advanced your pancreatic cancer is.

If you are experiencing itching pancreatic cancer symptoms or any of the other symptoms associated with pancreatic cancer you are advised to see a doctor.  Even if your doctor rules out pancreatic cancer as a cause, the symptoms on their own do warrant an evaluation by a medical practitioner.  Pancreatic cancer is rare although it is always better to be safe than sorry.

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