Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Month, How Early Intervention Proves Vital

20th November 2023

Pancreatic Cancer is often referred to as the “silent killer” so it can be difficult for patients to identify its symptoms. That’s why even vague changes in the body should be investigated to allow for early intervention.

The signs and symptoms of Pancreatic Cancer can include indigestion, pain in the stomach or back, changes to your stool, losing weight without meaning to and jaundice. Pancreatic Cancer can often be diagnosed late, but knowing the symptoms and what to be mindful of can lead to an earlier diagnosis and if showing signs of any of these symptoms to speak with your GP first and foremost.

Consultant Gastroenterologist at the Ulster Hospital, Dr John Eccles explained Pancreatic Cancer remains the fifth leading cause of cancer deaths in the United Kingdom, “With almost 10,000 new cases each year and this number has been growing significantly over the last decade.

“A recent Public Health Agency-funded audit demonstrated that between 2001 and 2020 there was an increase of 86 per cent in Pancreatic Cancer cases in Northern Ireland. Unfortunately, Pancreatic Cancer may not cause symptoms at an early stage, so patients tend to present late with an incurable disease. Presenting symptoms include upper abdominal or back pain, weight loss and jaundice and should prompt patients to consult urgently with their GP. They will subsequently be referred on a “red flag pathway” to their local hospital Gastroenterology Team for consideration of further investigations.”


Upset stomach

  1. Feeling full even though you have eaten a smaller amount than normal
  2. Feeling bloated and full of wind. Passing wind either up or down, more than normal.


  1. Indigestion or heart burn that isn’t going away in spite of taking the right medicine for it.

Change in bowel

  1. Poo that is much paler than usual
  2. Extra smelly poo
  3. Poo that is difficult to flush away
  4. Having diarrhoea or being really constipated for a t least a week or more without having changed your diet


  1. Pain in the middle of your back
  2. Pain across the front of your stomach
  3. Pain in your side


  1. Itching
  2. The whites of your eyes look yellow

If you are presenting with any of these symptoms, speak to your GP.