The ‘palpable’ sign under the ribs linked to pancreatic cancer

We use your sign-up to provide content in ways you’ve consented to and to improve our understanding of you. This may include adverts from us and 3rd parties based on our understanding. You can unsubscribe at any time. More info

Pancreatic cancer is notoriously lethal, partly because the symptoms are so hard to spot in the beginning. As a result, a great number of patients are diagnosed in the advanced stages of the condition when the tumour has invaded neighbouring tissue. Reports on these patients have previously described a fluttering sensation or lump under the ribs.

In 2014, the British Medical Journal reported patients’ accounts of intermittent symptoms preceding a pancreatic diagnosis.

The goal of the article was to explore how people with pancreatic cancer interpreted pre-diagnostic signs and symptoms.

After drawing on a collection of qualitative interviews with pancreatic cancer patients, the researchers discovered that symptoms of an intermittent nature often precede a cancer diagnosis.

As a result, patients may be “falsely reassured” by symptoms that come and go.

The researchers noted: “Pancreatic cancer might be identified at a stage where curative treatment is more likely if there were greater awareness that intermittent gastrointestinal symptoms can have a serious cause.

“We were struck by the participants’ accounts of symptoms they had experienced on an intermittent basis and the reassurance they had gained from the periods in between when they felt relatively well.”

When looking at the nature of symptoms, people report that the approximate time from first recognising a symptom to diagnosis typically ranged from less than a month to several years.

“The signs and symptoms reported in our study mirror those from previous studies, with the exception of some”, the report states.

Don’t miss…
Urine test could detect two cancers with ‘99%’ success rate [INSIGHT]
Pancreatic cancer rates rising fastest among young women, study finds [INFORMER]
Emotional moment terminally-ill gran meets best friend for final time [LATEST]

These symptoms include a “perceived lump under the ribs, a pulsation under the ribs, and intermittent rectal bleeding”.

The report described the lump of pancreatic patients as being “palpable”.

It occurs in the rib region because the pancreas is located behind the stomach, where the rib meets the breastbone.

In a small number of pancreatic cancers, the disease is driven by islet cell cancers which trigger the overproduction of insulin.

According to the Pancreas Foundation, this may lead to lower blood sugar levels, causing chills, diarrhoea and muscle spasms.

A more typical sign of the disease is a dull pain in the upper abdomen or in the upper back.

The pain may come and go, or worsen when lying down.

“This is probably caused by a tumour that has formed in the body or tail of the pancreas because it presses on the spine,” explains Johns Hopkins Medicine.

It should be noted that the signs may signal advanced rather than early pancreatic cancer, or an unrelated condition.

Nonetheless, Cancer.Net advises anyone concerned about their bodily changes to speak to a doctor.

“Your doctor will ask how long and how often you have been experiencing the symptoms, in addition to other questions,” explains the health body.

“If a tumour is diagnosed, relieving symptoms remains an important part of your care and treatment.”

Unlike breast, colon and prostate cancer, pancreatic cancer is not routinely found in screening tests.

Source: Read Full Article