Pancreatic cancer WARNING – why you should never ignore back pain

Pancreatic cancer often doesn’t cause any symptoms in its early stages.

As the disease progresses, some signs of the cancer may begin to show.

While the symptoms don’t necessarily mean you have pancreatic cancer, you should see a GP if you’re worried about it.

One of the earliest signs of the condition is a pain in the abdomen or back, according to charity Pancreatic Cancer UK.

“Pain is a common symptom of pancreatic cancer,” said the charity.

“It often starts as general discomfort or pain in the tummy area that can spread to the back.

“The pain may vary from person to person. For example, it may come and go at first but become more constant over time.

“It can be worse when lying down, and sitting forward can sometimes make it feel better. It may be worse after eating. The tummy area may also feel tender.”

Other early signs of pancreatic cancer include unexplained weight loss and indigestion.

As the cancer progresses, it could lead to difficulty swallowing, vomiting and a change in bowel habits.

Yellowing of the skin – also known as jaundice - and a loss of appetite are also signs that you should see your GP.

If you have jaundice, you should see a doctor without delay. If you have any of the other symptoms and they don’t improve after four weeks, you should speak to a doctor, said Pancreatic Cancer UK.

The exact cause of pancreatic cancer isn’t entirely understood by scientists.

But, you could lower your risk of the disease by cutting back on alcohol and red meat.

Your chance of developing pancreatic cancer increases as you get older.

Nearly half of people diagnosed with the disease in the UK are over 75 years old.