Getting in touch with your doctor and allowing them to develop a screening plan for you in the event that you develop symptoms of pancreatic cancer is the first step in early detection and ruling out the possibility of cancer, or beginning treatment if it turns out that it is, in fact, pancreatic cancer.
Like many other cancers, early-stage detection can prove to be tough because often times during its infancy pancreatic cancer will produce mild symptoms or no symptoms at all and it can be hard to perceive until it has already become advanced.
Even still, there are some key symptoms that indicate that you should go to the doctor and see about possibly getting screened such as:
- Nausea and vomiting
- Weight loss
- Chronic fatigue
- Darkened urine
- Loss of appetite
These symptoms do not necessarily mean that pancreatic cancer is present, but they do mean that you should go to your doctor because they are out of the ordinary and even if it is not pancreatic cancer, it should still be looked into as it could indicate some medical issue.
When you experience these symptoms and go to your doctor, you may be worried and dealing with a lot of anxiety, and understandably so, but you should not dwell on it and trust that your medical team will use their expertise to ensure that everything that comes next is done professionally and thoroughly.
What Should I Do Next?
If you develop symptoms and are concerned, get in touch with your doctor and put your faith in them. Their expertise should put you at ease and at the very least help you to unburden yourself of some of the “what ifs” that may be popping into your mind.
There are several ways that they test for pancreatic cancer, including:
- CT scans and MRIs
- Testing the blood to look for liver enzyme levels as well as tumor markers that can appear in the blood
- Performing a biopsy of tissue that is believed to be suspect usually by way of an endoscope
- Collecting ultrasound pictures of your pancreas
The above detection methods are common because they are effective and non-invasive. If your doctor winds up detecting pancreatic cancer from these screening methods, then she or he will determine what stage the cancer is at in the present moment and from there will figure out what kind of treatments would be most beneficial for your specific case.
Once treatment begins, the first step typically involves removing the cancer surgically if possible. Depending on the situation, that may not be possible and if that is the case then the treatment will be pointed at preventing future metastasis (spreading of cancer) or growing.
Often times, treatment will involve a combination of chemotherapy and surgery, or even radiation. Specific treatment depends on the individual case as well as what the doctor believes would be the most effective while avoiding any unnecessary pain, discomfort or side effects whenever possible.
The worst thing for you or anyone concerned about potential symptoms of pancreatic cancer is to enter panic mode. Stress, anxiety, and panic will only serve to keep you up at night and won’t make things better. It is, of course, understandable, but if you calm yourself and put faith in your medical team that they will do their absolute best to provide the help that is needed, then you can rest easy while taking treatment one step at a time. No type of cancer is fun or easy, but putting faith in the medical system and the technology involved is the best way to put your mind at ease while dealing with the process.