The study has confirmed a further 23 signs of pancreatic cancer, after looking at data from 24,230 patients who were diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in England between 2000 and 2017 using a large electronic database (QResearch).
The research, which is the largest study of its kind, found 23 symptoms linked with the diagnosis of PDAC (yellowing of the skin, bleeding in the stomach or intestine, problems swallowing, diarrhea, change in bowel habits, vomiting, indigestion, abdominal mass, abdominal pain, weight loss, constipation, fat in stool, abdominal swelling, nausea, flatulence, heartburn, fever, tiredness, appetite loss, itching, back pain, thirst, and dark urine). Nine symptoms were linked with PNEN (yellowing of the skin, blood in stool, diarrhea, change in bowel habits, vomiting, indigestion, abdominal mass, abdominal pain, and weight loss).
“When pancreatic cancer is diagnosed earlier, patients have a higher chance of survival. It is possible to diagnose patients when they visit their GP, but both patients and GPs need to be aware of the symptoms associated with pancreatic cancer.” Dr. Weiqi Liao said.
While most symptoms were not specific to pancreatic cancer and could be due to other benign conditions, the researchers found patients diagnosed with pancreatic cancer had a higher chance of experiencing some of these non-specific symptoms one year before diagnosis.
Dr Liao said: “These new findings enable us to conduct further work on understanding symptoms that could suggest pancreatic cancer. This will help GPs to make decisions about who to refer for urgent tests, especially when patients have several seemingly non-specific symptoms.”