Pancreatic cancer symptoms: Indigestion is a sign – how to tell it is linked to cancer

Pancreatic cancer begins in the tissues of your pancreas — an organ in your abdomen that lies behind the lower part of your stomach. The harsh reality of pancreatic cancer is that it can be difficult to treat in the advanced stages because symptoms do not usually not appear until the cancerous cells have spread to other organs. Complicating the effort to detect the virus further is cancer of the pancreas can cause other “non-specific” symptoms.


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One non-specific symptom of pancreatic cancer is indigestion.

As the NHS explains, most people have indigestion at some point.

Usually, it’s not a sign of anything more serious and you can treat it yourself.

The following symptoms may associated with indigestion:

  • Heartburn – a painful burning feeling in the chest, often after eating
  • Feeling full and bloated
  • Feeling sick
  • Belching and farting
  • Bringing up food or bitter-tasting fluids into your mouth

How to tell ingestion is linked to pancreatic cancer

The telltale sign is indigestion that is persistent or isn’t getting better with medicines, according to Cancer Research UK.

If you are experiencing this type of indigestion, you should go back to see your doctor, the charity advises.

Other non-specific symptoms include:

  • Diabetes
  • Itching
  • Sickness
  • Bowel changes
  • Fever and shivering
  • Blood clots

Pancreatic cancer treatment

According to the NHS, the treatment you have for pancreatic cancer depends on four factors:

  • The size and type of pancreatic cancer you have
  • Where it is
  • If it has spread
  • Your general health

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“It may include surgery, chemotherapy, radiotherapy and supportive care,” says the health body.

As the health body explains, the course of treatment will depend on if the cancer can be removed or not.

“If pancreatic cancer is found early and it has not spread, you may be able to have surgery to remove it,” it adds.

Am I at risk?

Doctors don’t know what causes most pancreatic cancers but there are some factors that may increase your risk of developing it.


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Certain unhealthy lifestyle factors may strongly influence your risk for example.

The gravest is smoking and smokeless tobacco.

“Cigarettes, cigars, pipes and chewing tobacco all increase pancreatic cancer risk,” explains Cancer Research UK.

A study carried out by the charity looking at lifestyle factors found that nearly one in three pancreatic cancers (about 30 percent) may be linked to smoking.

Research has shown that exposure to second hand smoke doesn’t increase your risk of pancreatic cancer, however.

Some research has also suggested a possible link between red or processed meat and pancreatic cancer.

A study showed that pancreatic cancer risk was higher in men who ate more red meat a day compared to those who ate no red meat.

The same study also showed that both men and women who eat more processed meat have a higher risk of pancreatic cancer.

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