A SPECIFIC TYPE OF THIS DISEASE CAUSES ONE PARTICULAR SYMPTOM IN UP TO 90% OF PEOPLE.
The warning indications of pancreatic cancer can be subtle, or even nonexistent, before the disease has progressed to an advanced stage, making it very challenging to cure. This is in contrast to other illnesses that make their presence known by a range of symptoms. The data conveys a spooky narrative. The American Cancer Society (ACS) predicts that in the US, 62,210 people will be diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in 2022, and 49,830 people will pass away from the condition.
Why is it so difficult to detect pancreatic cancer early? The ACS warns that because the pancreas is deep inside the body, early malignancies cannot be seen or felt by medical professionals during standard physical examinations. “People typically don’t exhibit symptoms until the cancer has spread to other organs or grown quite large.”
It’s crucial to be aware of the pancreatic cancer risk factors and to recognise any early warning signs. Discover one symptom that may manifest on your skin if you have a specific type of this disease by reading on.
The pancreas carries out a number of intricate tasks.
According to the Mayo Clinic, the pancreas is a gland situated in the upper abdomen behind the stomach: “The pancreas produces hormones that assist regulate how your body handles sugar (glucose) and enzymes that aid in digesting.”
Although it is possible to survive without a pancreas, the ACS cautions that removing it leaves patients completely dependent on insulin shots and digestive enzyme pills since they are “left without the cells that create insulin and other hormones that help regulate healthy blood sugar levels.” According to the website, individuals who have undergone this operation must additionally take pancreatic enzyme supplements to aid in the digestion of specific foods.
Pancreatic cancer comes in two different varieties.
Pancreatic cancer, like other cancers, develops when abnormal cells in the organ proliferate, divide, and form a tumour. Exocrine and endocrine tumour forms of pancreatic cancer exist (neuroendocrine). The Pancreatic Cancer Action Network states that this depends on the type of cell that the tumours begin in (PanCAN). Because each form of tumour behaves differently and reacts to various treatments, knowing its nature is crucial.
Over 90% of pancreatic cancers are exocrine; just 10% are endocrine, commonly known as neuroendocrine or islet cell tumours, which “typically grow more slowly than exocrine tumours,” according to PanCAN.
According to PanCAN, the precise causes of pancreatic cancer are unknown, but some risk factors include a history of the disease in the family, smoking, being overweight, and eating a lot of red meat. The Pancreatic Cancer Action Network (PanCAN) warns that having one or more of these risk factors does not guarantee that one will develop pancreatic cancer.
A certain symptom can be brought on by a certain form of pancreatic cancer.
According to the Cleveland Clinic, the potential symptoms of pancreatic cancer are numerous, subtle, and sometimes do not appear until the condition has advanced. Fatigue, weight loss, and back discomfort are a few of the warning indicators that the cancer has progressed. Jaundice is another another typical sign of pancreatic cancer (when the skin and whites of the eyes turn a yellow color). According to PanCAN, this can happen when a tumour obstructs the bile duct that connects the pancreas to the liver. Jaundice is caused by elevated blood levels of the bile pigment bilirubin, which also causes “itchy skin, dark urine, and light or clay-colored faeces,” according to PanCAN.
Beginning in the pancreatic neuroendocrine cells is a kind of cancer known as glucagonoma (responsible for producing a hormone called glucagon). According to Cancer Research UK, between 70 and 90 percent of people with glucagonoma will develop the rash necrolytic migrating erythema (NME).
A painful, itchy rash with blisters may be a sign of pancreatic cancer.
The excruciatingly itching NME rash can develop when a glucagonoma tumour raises blood sugar levels. According to WebMD, it typically starts in creased areas of the body, most frequently in the groyne area, and then spreads from there. It has red, blotchy spots that are crusty, dry, white, or yellow in colour.
Edward Williams described his encounter with NME to ABC News: “It was all over my face [and] I could literally shave only every other day, because it was so painful over the top of the blisters.” I just assumed I had a rash, was getting older, and wasn’t as energetic and strong. According to ABC News, “diabetes, diarrhoea, and anaemia” can also accompany NME; however, Williams’ rash appeared on his back, behind his shoulders, the backs of his thighs, under his arms, and behind his eyes.
Williams was fortunate in that he persisted in discussing the rash with medical professionals and, after six years of discomfort, received a proper diagnosis and underwent a successful surgery.
Make an appointment to see your healthcare practitioner right away if you see a rash or any other unusual symptoms.