Researchers at the University of Oxford (United Kingdom) have identified a number of symptoms associated with pancreatic cancer, including two symptoms not recognized so far as feeling thirsty and having dark urine.
The study has confirmed 21 other signs of pancreatic cancer and has shown that patients usually have some symptoms of the disease up to a year before the cancer is diagnosed, and other alarming symptoms three months before diagnosis.
The researchers hope their findings can improve survival by helping doctors diagnose the disease earlier, especially when patients they present several apparently nonspecific symptoms.
Pancreatic cancer has the lowest survival of all common cancers, with a 5-year survival of about 7%. Unfortunately, most people with pancreatic cancer are diagnosed at a late stage.
Researchers want to better understand the early signs of pancreatic cancer, because if patients and GPs are more aware of the symptoms, they could be diagnosed earlier, when your chances of survival are higher.
These scientists analyzed data from 24,236 patients diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in England. between 2000 and 2017 using a large electronic database.
The researchers looked at the patients’ symptoms at different times before they were diagnosed with cancer and compared them with the symptoms of other patients who had pancreatic cancer was not diagnosed.
Yellowing of the skin (jaundice) and bleeding in the stomach or the intestine were the two serious symptoms most related to the diagnosis of pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC), the most common type of pancreatic cancer, and in pancreatic neuroendocrine neoplasms (PNEN), a rarer form of pancreatic cancer. In addition, the researchers identified thirst and dark urine as previously unknown symptoms of PDAC.