Pancreatic Cancer Cheat Sheet

In the United States, more than 21,000 women are diagnosed with pancreatic cancer annually.  Risk factors and warning signs may include:

Risk Factors:

  • I smoke cigarettes
  • I have diabetes
  • I am obese
  • I do not exercise regularly
  • I have a family history of pancreatic cancer
  • I have chronic pancreatitis which may increase the risk of pancreatic cancer
  • I have had heavy exposure at work to certain pesticides, dyes, and chemicals

Warning Signs:
Pancreatic cancer is sometimes called a "silent disease" because early pancreatic cancer often does not cause symptoms. But, as the cancer grows, symptoms may include:

  • Pain in the abdomen and back
  • Yellow skin and eyes, and dark urine from jaundice
  • Digestive problems such as nausea, vomiting and stool changes
  • Weight loss

These symptoms can often be similar to other diseases and conditions. However, if you are experiencing any of the above symptoms, make an appointment with your doctor right away. There is currently no screening test for pancreatic cancer, but you should discuss which of the following diagnostic tools may be appropriate for you: Ultrasound, CT scan, ERCP, MRI, Biopsy.

Contact The National Women’s Health Information Center for information on health insurance coverage or free clinics. Visit or call 1-800-994-9662.

Remember, early detection equals survival!

This information was provided by the American Cancer Society.

This information was reviewed by the Cancer Schmancer Medical Advisory Board.

Last updated: August 2010