common symptoms of pancreatic adenocarcinoma occurring before diagnosis include:
Pain in the upper abdomen or back, often spreading from around the stomach to the back. The location of the pain can indicate the part of the pancreas where a tumor is located. The pain may be worse at night and may increase over time to become severe and unremitting. It may be slightly relieved by bending forward. In the UK, about half of new cases of pancreatic cancer are diagnosed following a visit to a hospital emergency department for pain or jaundice. In up to two-thirds of people abdominal pain is the main symptom, for 46% of the total accompanied by jaundice, with 13% having jaundice without pain.
Jaundice, a yellow tint to the whites of the eyes or skin, with or without pain, and possibly in combination with darkened urine. This results when a cancer in the head of the pancreas obstructs the common bile duct as it runs through the pancreas.
Unexplained weight loss, either from loss of appetite, or loss of exocrine function resulting in poor digestion.
The tumor may compress neighboring organs, disrupting digestive processes and making it difficult for the stomach to empty, which may cause nausea and a feeling of fullness. The undigested fat leads to foul-smelling, fatty feces that are difficult to flush away.Constipation is common.
At least 50% of people with pancreatic adenocarcinoma have diabetes at the time of diagnosis. While long-standing diabetes is a known risk factor for pancreatic cancer (see Risk factors), the cancer can itself cause diabetes, in which case recent onset of diabetes could be considered an early sign of the disease.