Signs and Symptoms of Pancreatic Cancer

The diagnosis of pancreatic cancer is usually delayed because symptoms are nonspecific and are often attributed to another condition. In fact, some patients do not even notice the gradual onset of symptoms.

Jaundice, which causes yellowing of the skin, is present in approximately 50 percent of patients at the time of diagnosis and may be associated with less-advanced disease. Other symptoms of pancreatic cancer include

  • Weight loss
  • Fatigue
  • Discomfort in the abdomen
  • Loss of appetite
  • Glucose intolerance

In addition, the patient may experience pain in the abdomen and back. The pancreas may produce too much insulin, causing such symptoms as dizziness, weakness, diarrhea, chills, or muscle spasms.

Publication Review By: Stanley J. Swierzewski, III, M.D.

Published: 14 Aug 1999

Last Modified: 29 Sep 2015