Awareness month pancreatic cancer. November. Purple awareness ribbon.

Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Month

November 24, 2021

November is Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Month. Pancreatic cancer is the deadliest common cancer. Half of people diagnosed die within 3 months.

Everyone has a pancreas (unless it has been removed).

Your pancreas does two main things.

  • It makes enzymes. Enzymes help to break down food so your body can absorb it. This is part of digestion.
  • It makes hormones, including insulin, which control sugar levels in the blood.

Pancreatic cancer can affect how well the pancreas works. You may have problems digesting your food and controlling the sugar levels in your blood.

Pancreatic cancer develops when cells in the pancreas grow out of control, forming a lump. You might hear this called a tumour or mass.

There are different types of pancreatic cancer. Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma is the most common type. Neuroendocrine tumours (NETs) are less common – they behave differently and are treated differently.

What are the symptoms of pancreatic cancer?

Pancreatic cancer often doesn’t cause symptoms in the early stages. As the cancer grows, it may start to cause symptoms. The symptoms may not be specific to pancreatic cancer, and they may come and go to begin with. This can make pancreatic cancer hard to diagnose. Pancreatic cancer can affect both men and women in the same way.

Main symptoms of pancreatic cancer. Simple graphics. figure holding tummy -Tummy or back pain, Scales -unexplained weight loss or loss of appetite, Eye -jaundice (yellow skin or eyes or itchy skin), Toilet -change in bowel habits, figure holds chest - indigestion.

Common symptoms:

  • Weight Loss
  • Indigestion

Other symptoms can include: 

  • Loss of appetite
  • Change of bowel habits
  • Jaundice (yellow skin or eyes and itchy skin)
  • Recently diagnosed diabetes
  • Problems digesting food such as feeling full quickly when you eat, bloating, burping or wind
  • Feeling or being sick
  • Blood clots
  • Feeling very tired (fatigue)

These symptoms can be caused by lots of things, and are unlikely to be pancreatic cancer. If you are not feeling well and you have any of the symptoms on this page, speak to your GP to check if there is anything wrong. Econsult, an online consultation, can help you get in touch with your own GP surgery at: Econsult

Pancreatic Cancer UK Helpline 

Free Support Line is staffed by specialist nurses and is open Mon-Fri 9am-4pm, with lines open 10am-6pm on Wednesdays. Specialist nurses can answer your questions, recommend practical steps and provide the emotional support you and your loved ones need, when you need it most.

Find more information at : Pancreatic Cancer UK website

                                                           NHS Pancreatic cancer information  

                                                           Lost Voices pancreatic cancer video