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Pancreatic Cancer Symptoms and Treatment Options  

There are many kinds of cancer which can affect both men and women.  Pancreatic cancer is a very serious type of cancer which can develop in either men or women.  This disease is often difficult to spot and diagnose.  If it progresses too far the prognosis for long term survival and quality of life is not particularly good.  So it is very important to understand the symptoms and warning signs.  So let’s review some of the important pancreatic cancer symptoms in women. 

But first it should be better understand what pancreatic is.  This type of disease is caused when cancer cells originate and grow in the pancreas.  The pancreas is a gland which plays a very important role in the digestive process.  It creates and releases the digestive juices which are used to break down food.  It also produces insulin which is a vital compound to help to balance the blood sugar level.   

The big problem with pancreatic cancer is that there are little to no visible symptoms in the early stages.  The symptoms tend to arise as the tumor grows ever larger.  And it is almost impossible to detect any symptoms at the immediate onset of the disease.  But as the tumor cells increase, it can have an important impact on a person’s health.  If the disease progresses too far, the cancer may no longer remain within the pancreas and can spread to many other parts of the body.  This is what can make effective treatment very difficult. 

Some common symptoms to watch out for though include pain in the upper abdominal cavity.  It may not be a constant pain and can come and go.  The degree of pain can also vary. 

Stomach bloating can also be a common symptom.  The cancer sufferer may feel full even after a very light meal.  If it continues, the bloated feeling can cause loss of appetite and weight. 

As the tumor affects the pancreas further, there may not be enough fat digestive enzymes produced.  This can cause fats in the food you eat to remain undigested and get passed in the stool.  If the stool appears fatty, this is a definite warning sign.  The tumor may also block the bile duct.  This can cause jaundice which can result in yellow skin, pale colored stool and urine which is very dark.  This condition can also cause extensive itching of the skin. 

If the cancer continues to grow unchecked, it will eventually affect other organs.  If this happens, the overall health of the person will be severely affected.  The person can feel extremely tired and fatigued.  He/she may also become depressed.  And large weight loss can occur for no good reason. 

The tumor can also affect the production of insulin which can lead to diabetes.  If you notice some of these symptoms, it is always a good idea to see your doctor to get them checked out further.  There are a number of tests which can be performed to confirm a diagnosis. 

It should be noted that in a very small percentage of women, they may experience symptoms during the early stages of the disease.  These women may find that they no longer enjoy certain kinds of foods or beverages any longer.  They may also feel very full shortly after having a meal.  So these early warning signs should be heeded very seriously. 

Regarding treatment options, surgical removal of the tumor is a common procedure if it has remained within the pancreas.  If the cancer has spread, then much of the emphasis on treatment will be on controlling the growth of the cancer.  The goal is to provide the best quality of life to the patient for as long as possible.