Signs & symptoms

In most cases, symptoms only develop after pancreatic cancer has grown and begun to spread.

Early-stage pancreatic cancer rarely causes symptoms. In fact, more than 80% of pancreatic cancers have spread from the pancreas to other body organs when they are first diagnosed. It usually spreads rapidly, and in most cases surgical removal is impossible.

Pancreatic cancer may cause vague or unexplained symptoms that include:

•  pain in the upper abdomen or back
•  loss of appetite
•  nausea and vomiting
•  unexplained weight loss
•  change in bowel habit
•  jaundice (yellowing of skin and eyes).

Less common signs include the onset of diabetes. In Australia, 10-20% of people with pancreatic cancer develop diabetes.

If you are experiencing one or more of these symptoms, we urge you to speak to your GP immediately and reference pancreatic cancer.

Find out more about the causes & risk factors associated with pancreatic cancer.