Because the pancreas is deep inside the body, early tumors can’t be seen or felt by your doctor during routine physical exams. People usually have no symptoms until the cancer has become very large or has already spread to other organs.
For certain types of cancer, screening tests or exams are used to look for cancer in those who have no symptoms and who haven’t had cancer before.
But for pancreatic cancer, no major professional organizations currently recommend routine screening in people who are at average risk because no screening test has been shown to lower the risk of dying from pancreatic cancer.
Symptoms of pancreatic cancer may include:
- Pain (usually in the abdomen or back)
- Weight loss
- Jaundice (yellowing of the skin and/or eyes) with or without itching
- Loss of appetite
- Change in stool
- Recent-onset diabetes
If you experience any of these symptoms, we recommend you call your doctor.