Pancreatic Cancer Alliance

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What are the causes and symptoms?

Unfortunately little is known about the causes of pancreatic cancer, so it can be difficult to explain why some people develop the disease and others don't. Pancreatic cancer is fundamentally a genetic disease.

It can be caused by mutations or changes in a person's DNA. These mutations may be due to inheriting a faulty gene or these changes can be acquired as we age.

Early stages of pancreatic cancer often remain undetected due to lack of significant signs or symptoms. Symptoms are often not noticed until the cancer is large enough to affect nearby organs.

Some earlier signs and symptoms associated with pancreatic cancer include:

  • yellowish skin and eyes, and dark urine, which are caused by a condition known as jaundice, which occurs when the tumour blocks the bile duct into the digestive system;

  • pain in the upper abdomen;

  • loss of appetite and weight loss;

  • nausea and vomiting;