Cancer of the pancreas
The pancreas is a large gland that is part of the digestive system, and it sits behind the stomach. One part of the pancreas makes digestive juices (called the exocrine pancreas), and the other part produces insulin and other hormones required for digestion (called the endocrine pancreas).
The cancers that develop from these two parts of the pancreas can behave differently and cause different symptoms.
The most common types of cancer of the pancreas are exocrine tumours. There are a number of different types of these tumours, and the most common is an adenocarcinoma, where the cancer started in the cells lining the ducts of the pancreas.
Symptoms of pancreatic cancer
Almost half of new cases of pancreatic cancer are diagnosed in people aged over 75. Pancreatic cancer is uncommon in people under 40, although sometimes pancreatic cancer is found to run in a family and occurs under that age.
Common symptoms of the disease include:-
- Persistent pain in the stomach or back
- Weight loss
Other symptoms that some people develop are:-
- Bowel changes
- Fever and shivering
- Blood clots
Seeing your GP
When you go to your GP appointment with symptoms, they will ask about your general health and check your skin and eyes. They will examine your abdomen and may refer you for a series of other tests.
You may be sent to hospital for an ultrasound, MRI scan, or a procedure where an endoscope is put down your throat, either to do a scan or to pass dye into the area so that images can show up any abnormalities.
During other tests a biopsy may be done to remove a sample of the tissue for testing – this being the only way to know for sure whether a lump is cancer.
If the tests show that you have pancreatic cancer, you may need further tests to see if it has spread. This helps doctors to decide the best treatment for you, and will show whether it is possible to completely remove the cancer or not.
Pancreatic cancer misdiagnosis
Given that the earlier that any cancer is diagnosed the better the treatment will work, it is vital that patients are diagnosed and treated at the earliest possible time.
Unfortunately, delays and the misdiagnosis of the cancer do sometimes happen, for example:-
- A test result does not get reported correctly
- Your symptoms are misdiagnosed
- Where you have had symptoms your GP doesn’t examine you or refer you to a specialist
- An abnormal result isn’t followed up properly
We can provide specialist advice on making a claim for compensation if you think you have suffered medical negligence.
Bolt Burdon Kemp know that money can never truly compensate you for a failure in your medical care, but it can help give you peace of mind about your financial future.
You can get compensation for the further effects of the disease that are due to a delay in diagnosis, and you can also recover the costs of private medical treatment or extra care that may be necessary.