21 Signs And Symptoms Of Pancreatic Cancer

7. Diarrhea

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Another pancreatic cancer symptom is diarrhea, the frequent passing of loose, watery or oily stool again due to impaired digestion of food due to the disease. 

The pancreas is an organ heavily-involved in the breakdown of food into more absorbable forms. When the pancreas is compromised, it is unable to produce amylase and lipase, enzymes needed to convert carbohydrates and fats from food into simpler compounds that the body can use. When this happens, patients develop watery and oily stool which they pass more frequently than usual. Another cause of diarrhea in patients with pancreatic cancer is the formation of a VIPoma, a type of tumor that produces a substance called Vasoactive Intestinal Peptide, which causes an increase in the leakage of water from surrounding tissures  into the gut, resulting in severe diarrhea.

Severe diarrhea is dangerous as it can lead to electrolyte loss, preventing vital tissues in the body such as heart muscles and skeletal muscles from properly working. If you are experiencing diarrhea, be sure to visit your doctor at once to prevent complications and to better assess what it is that could be causing your symptoms.