Pancreatic NET symptoms
Pancreatic NETs may be functioning or non-functioning.
Functioning NETs produce extra amounts of hormones, and the first symptoms will often be related to this excess hormone production.
Non-functioning NETs do not produce extra hormones and rarely cause symptoms in the early stages. Symptoms often appear only once the cancer is large enough to affect nearby organs, or has spread.
Common symptoms are listed below. These symptoms can also occur in many other conditions and do not necessarily mean that you have cancer. Speak with your general practitioner (GP) if you have any of these symptoms.
Common symptoms of pancreatic NETs
Common symptoms of pancreatic NETS are:
- jaundice – yellowish skin and eyes, dark urine, pale bowel motions and itchy skin
- indigestion (heartburn)
- appetite loss
- nausea with or without vomiting
- unexplained weight loss
- pain in the upper abdomen, side or back, which may cause you to wake up at night
- changed bowel motions – including diarrhoea, severe constipation, or pale, oily, foul-smelling stools that are difficult to flush away
- newly diagnosed diabetes.
Because functioning pancreatic NETs produce excess hormones, they also have symptoms such as:
- too much sugar in the blood (diabetes)
- a drop in blood sugar
- blurred vision
- being very thirsty
- needing to pass urine more often
- severe watery diarrhoea
These symptoms can also occur in many other conditions and do not necessarily mean that you have cancer. Speak with your general practitioner (GP) if you have any of these symptoms.
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Dr Lorraine Chantrill, Head of Department, Medical Oncology, Illawarra Shoalhaven Local Health District, NSW; Marion Bamblett, Nurse Unit Manager, Cancer Centre, Fiona Stanley Hospital, WA; Prof Katherine Clark, Clinical Director of Palliative Care, Northern Sydney Local Health District Cancer and Palliative Care Network, and Conjoint Professor, Northern Clinical School, The University of Sydney, NSW; Lynda Dunstone, Consumer; Kate Graham, Accredited Practising Dietitian – Upper GI Dietitian, Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, VIC; Dr Gina Hesselberg, Radiation Oncologist, St George Hospital Cancer Centre, NSW; Dr Marni Nenke, Endocrinologist and Mary Overton Early Career Research Fellow, Royal Adelaide Hospital, SA; Caitriona Nienaber, 13 11 20 Consultant, Cancer Council WA; A/Prof Nicholas O’Rourke, Head of Hepatobiliary Surgery, Royal Brisbane Hospital and The University of Queensland, QLD; Rose Rocca, Senior Clinical Dietitian – Upper GI, Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, VIC; Gail Smith, Consumer. We also thank the health professionals, consumers and editorial teams who have worked on previous editions of this title.
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