Afraid I have Pancreatic Cancer

Posted , 5 users are following.

A little background. I am 37 years old. I have had a weight problem since I was a teenager. I am 6'2 and in March, I weighed about 325 pounds. I am not proud of this. I admit I did not live a healthy lifestyle. Usually during the summer, I lose around 10-15 pounds because of increased physical activity. I noticed my clothes were fitting looser in late July/early August. I weighed myself on the scale at my parents' house 2 weeks after Labor Day (I did not have a scale at my place. I was down to 292. I am very skeptical the increased physical activity can account for this . I had to go for a physical anyway to get the preferred health insurance rate at work. I was convinced it would be diabetes. I mentioned the sudden weight loss. On Web MD it says if you have more than 5% of unexplained weight loss, see a doctor. My bloodwork all came back normal besides a high calcium level. First I was relieved it wasn't diabetes, then worried it was something more serious, like cancer. The doctor at the urgent care who did the physical suggested I go to an internist. I saw one last week. He checked for blood in my stool and felt my glands and lymph nodes and felt nothing out of the ordinary. He also felt my abdomen and said my liver felt normal. he then had me make a follow up appointment for a month in the future and wrote a prescription for more bloodwork and an ultrasound chest xray. I had read on WebMD that pancreatic cancer causes sudden weight loss. I am not usually a hypocondriac but I do have anxiety issues. Whenever there is uncertainty in any situation, I always assume the worst. And the end result never turns out to be anywhere near as serious. He said, "First of all, pancreatic cancer is extremely rare in someone under 40. Second, if it started over the summer and caused you to lose over 10% of your weight, you would most likely be in a lot of pain by now." He also said, "Stop reading Web MD. You will drive yourself crazy." I also think that if he thought it was something very serious, he wouldn't say wait a month for a follow up. He'd say get the tests done right away. Before I noticed how much weight I lost, I had felt fine. Even when I thought it was diabetes, I felt fine. In the last week, I have felt a lot of fatigue. I think this is only psychosomatic. I also noticed the last few days greasy stools (normal color, not pale). And my stomach seems to be noisier than normal, with gurgling. I just noticed this the past week. And I started worrying more. My weight has stayed stable the past week. I actually gained a pound or 2. And one of my co workers who has noticed my weight loss said it did not happen overnight or in a week. You could see it little by little over the summer. I don't feel any back pain/abdomen pain. Do you think I should really be worried about Pancreatic Cancer, or could all this be caused by a digestive issue (Chron's Disease, GERD, gastritis, gallstones, IBD, IBS, a parasitic infection, Celiac). I know there are people on here who have had pancreatic cancer and had relatives with it, and I do not want to upset you. But I am pretty worried.

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6 Replies

  • Posted

    In a nutshell, yes, I think you are worried about nothing. Your WebMD and Google-fu are not helping.

    Trust your doctors and get a second or third opinion if you are truly worried.

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  • Posted

    Weight loss can be due to many other reasons, Digestive issues, Thyroid problems, Anxiety itself can make u burn more calories than normal. Dont worry yourself with Pancreatic Cancer, Its very rate at your age and it causes many other symptoms. If you still think you have pancreatic issues Your Ultrasound might give a better picture of your pancreas and a blood Lipase test. Stay away from google and online symptom checkers. All they do is worry you more with something that never exists in the first place.

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  • Posted

    With your age it's very unlikely unless you have a family history, cystic fibrosis, or Pancreas Divisium (rare condition where you're born with two pancreatic ducts). Your symptoms do not sound like PC but I don't have PC I have chronic pancreatitis due from Pancreas Divisium (I was diagnosed at age 37). There's a slew of symptoms and the weight loss is drastic (I lost close to 50 pounds in a matter of months). There's pain after eating that's so severe you're scared to eat, pain radiating to the back, vomiting all hours day/night undigested foods (your pancreas has a hard time producing enzymes that break down foods), constantly nauseous, itching, hair loss or hair stops growing, malabsorbtion, kidney issues, debilitating pain sending you to the emergency room multiple times and the list goes on and on. Those of us that suffer from CP learn to live with a new normal of pain. There's some days where you can't get out of bed and you have no energy at all. The worst thing you can do is turn to Dr Google, when you do that, all symptoms point to cancer. I would see a dietitian and make sure you're not developing food intolerances (this can happen at any age, just like celiac disease can develop at any age). I would also ask for a CT or MRI because those usually will reveal any damage to the pancreas (in my experience). Try not to allow the anxiety to control you, control the anxiety and tell yourself you ate something that didn't agree with you . Think positive and positive things will happen. Good luck and I hope you feel better soon.

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    • Posted

      I hope you're right. the malabsorbtion is really scaring me. if this turns out to not be too serious, my resolution after this scare is to take better care of myself. I would say that for a guy who didn't take care of himself and are garbage all the time, it's certainly not at all unlikely that person would end up with intestinal or digestive issues.

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    • Posted

      Well if you treat your body good, your body will be good to you. I try and tell myself this everyday. You cannot do any better if you don't know better. You will learn what foods your body can handle. I just had my pancreas removed, so I'm learning there's a slew of things to do. It's a bit overwhelming at first but each day gets better and better.

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  • Posted

    I got my results back. The abdominal ultrasound showed everything mostly normal, my pancreas and bile ducts and kidneys normal. My liver and spleen mildly enlarged and my liver with a slightly inhomogenous texture. the doctor said that is just fatty infiltration since I am large. there was a mass on one of my adrenal glands. He said those are incidentalomas. Those are usually benign, but he is going to send me for an MRI. He may have to send me to a specialist. My amylase was normal and my lipase slightly elevated, at 83. normal range is 7-60. He wants to have me repeat that test as well as a metabolic panel. Some labs may eben consider 83 normal. He wants me to go for a follow up in 6 weeks. He obviously doesn't think it is serious, otherwise he'd say get those tests and the MRI done right away. I don't feel as anxious anymore now.

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