Man, 63, diagnosed with pancreatic cancer after experiencing itching

This Morning: Dr Zoe explains symptoms of 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 has the lowest survival of all common cancers, with five-year survival being less than seven percent. This is partly owed to the deadly condition being reluctant to show symptoms. Patients might experience no symptoms at all or the signs might be hard to spot. Michael, who was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer at the age of 63, understands this all too well.

Michael, who didn’t share his last name, told Pancreatic Cancer UK: “My journey didn’t start with any of the regular signs or symptoms. 

“In summer 2016, I decided to retire completely from work and to spend time with my lovely wife of 46 years, Cathy, exploring those parts of the UK and the world that we had not yet seen.

“In September, we returned from a short holiday in Shropshire. Physically, I felt fine. 

“Within a few weeks, I was experiencing very bad itching all over my body.”

READ MORE: The colour in your poo that is ‘early sign’ of bowel cancer – seen in 89% of cases

Michael described the persistent itch as when you get bitten by a midge.

This “bad” itching kept getting worse and worse, taking over his whole body from his head to the soles of his feet.

He said: “Sleep was almost impossible and I was virtually falling asleep from sheer exhaustion. As my skin warmed, the itching became worse.”

Eventually, Michael’s skin also turned yellow, which prompted doctors to diagnose him with jaundice.

Considered one of the tell-tale signs of pancreatic cancer, jaundice occurs when your skin or the whites of your eyes turn yellow.

Jaundice can also trigger itchy skin like in Michael’s case as well as darker pee and paler poo than usual.

While Michael’s doctors diagnosed him with jaundice, the true cause wasn’t revealed until later.

It wasn’t until late November when a biopsy “eventually solved all the dilemmas”, diagnosing Michael with pancreatic cancer.

READ MORE: The foods you should avoid this Christmas and when to eat – 10 top tips from ZOE professor

He then underwent surgery during which doctors removed the tumour, together with a large portion of his stomach and digestive system, including 30 percent of his pancreas.

Following a difficult recovery from this procedure, Michael started chemotherapy.

Speaking about the side effects, he said: “By the end of the six months of chemotherapy, I looked like a scarecrow, dressed in very loose-fitting clothes and open-toed sandals with thin wispy hair and scaly, shedding skin. Not a pretty sight.

“However, I got through it, again with the unswerving help of my incredible wife, Cathy.”

Unfortunately, the site of the stomach opening for the operation broke down and opened up with a “large incisional hernia”. 

Michael added: “Three major operations and six months of chemotherapy in three years has been no picnic, but things are now on the up. 

“The incisional hernia repair has been a success and although I am still on three monthly CT scans, I am stable with no evidence of recurrence of the cancer.”

While Michael didn’t suffer from the “regular” symptoms, the full list of pancreatic cancer signs to be aware of includes:

  • Jaundice
  • Loss of appetite or losing weight without trying to
  • Feeling tired or having no energy
  • High temperature, or feeling hot or shivery
  • Feeling or being sick
  • Diarrhoea or constipation, or other changes in your poo
  • Pain at the top part of your tummy and your back, which may feel worse when you’re eating or lying down and better when you lean forward
  • Symptoms of indigestion, such as feeling bloated.

Source: Read Full Article