Jaundice Pancreatic Cancer Symptoms

Pancreatic cancer affects just under 8,000 people a year in the UK and whilst it is not a common cancer it does have a high mortality rate due to the difficulty in diagnosis. There are a number of pancreatic symptoms to look out for and understanding more about these can help you to notice signs of the disease at an earlier stage. One of the symptoms associated with pancreatic cancer is jaundice.

What is Jaundice?

Jaundice is a medical term that is used to describe a yellow colour in the whites of the eyes or a yellowing of the skin.  It is caused by a build up of bile in the body’s tissues and blood.  Although it can occur as a side effect of any ailment that affects the liver it is also a symptom of pancreatic cancer.

How does Jaundice relate to Pancreatic Cancer?

Jaundice is one of the focal symptoms associated with pancreatic cancer and over half of the people who eventually are diagnosed with pancreatic cancer initially visit their doctor due to jaundice.  Although jaundice is present in a number of other cancer types, it is most commonly associated with cancer located in the pancreas head.  When a tumour is present in this area, it blocks off the bile ducts causing bile to filtrate into the bloodstream instead.  As bile contains a lot of yellow pigment it in turn turns the skin yellow.

What are the Jaundice Pancreatic Cancer Symptoms?

The jaundice pancreatic cancer symptoms usually include:

  • A yellowing of the skin
  • A yellow colour in the whites of the eyes
  • Pale stools
  • Orange or dark yellow urine
  • Itchy skin
  • Loss of appetite and weight loss


Although jaundice is associated with a number of other diseases such as hepatitis or gall stones, your doctor will more than likely also refer you for pancreatic cancer tests if you are showing any of the signs or symptoms of this ailment.

Further Information about the Jaundice Pancreatic Cancer Symptoms

The treatment for jaundice pancreatic cancer symptoms will usually involve removing or shrinking the tumour in order to enable the bile to flow and be removed from the body in a natural way.  Depending on the stage of the cancer this may not always be possible.  If this is the case your doctor should be able to insert a tube (stent) into the bile duct which will enable drainage into the intestine.  Although in this scenario, the tumour will still be present, the stent will provide long term relief from jaundice pancreatic cancer symptoms.

If you or someone you know is suffering from jaundice it is vital to speak to your GP.  Jaundice is not only a symptom of pancreatic cancer but it is also a sign that something is not working correctly in your body, and can be fatal if not treated correctly.  The sooner that your GP can diagnose what is causing the jaundice, the sooner treatment can be sought and the higher the chance of it being cured.

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