21 Signs And Symptoms Of Pancreatic Cancer

5. Light-colored stools

The Spruce

Another sign of pancreatic cancer is light-colored to paper-white stools compared to the normal brownish color we usually observe.

When red blood cells breakdown, a yellowish-orange pigment called bilirubin is produced. This pigment is excreted from the body in any of two ways: one of which is via stool in the form of stercobilinogen giving feces its characteristic brown color. Before bilirubin from the blood is excreted via stool, it first becomes metabolized by the liver into bile which is then stored in the gallbladder prior to being released into the gut via the common bile duct. As the pancreatic tumor grows, it presses on and impinges the common bile duct (the passageway of bile), causing blockage, preventing bile from being released into the gut. This results in low amounts of the pigment in stool, hence, their lighter color of feces in patients with pancreatic cancer.