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Pancreatic cancer worries

I am a 50yo male, around 220lbs. I have GERD and take 40mg Pantoprazole daily.  I had a CT scan approximately 1 year ago after abdominal discomfort and elevated lipase with the following results:

Pancreas: Mild early fatty infiltration most prominent in the head and to lesser
extent the body seen. No evidence of focal lesion or ductal dilatation. No
surrounding inflammation/scarring of the adjacent peripancreatic fat.
Vasculature appears unremarkable.

Now a year later I have had mild nausea and loss of appetite for two weeks along with back pain.  No strain or injury related to back pain.  Pain is most prominent in the middle of the back to the left of the spine, but sometimes extends upward to just behind the edge of the left shoulder blade.  Hard to get comfortable.  Worse when lying down at night (may just be more noticeable because I am still and quiet).  At night back pain pulses with heartbeat.

I have an appointment with my gastroenterologist in 12 days, but this is a long time to worry.  Should I be concerned?

In a worst case scenario, how far could pancreatic cancer progress in the year since my CT?
1 Responses
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15695260 tn?1549593113
Hello and welcome to the forum. So sorry for a delay in response.  In doing the math, have you seen your gastro doctor as of yet?  From what you have written, I would not suspect in any way pancreatic cancer. Your previous CT was unremarkable and   what you describe is such that it could be a variety of things.  Jaundice is one of the first signs all those who have pancreatic cancer have.  You don't mention this. https://www.cancer.org/cancer/pancreatic-cancer/detection-diagnosis-staging/signs-and-symptoms.html     Please follow up with us and let us know how the doctor's appointment went.
Helpful - 1
Thank you for your response, I did see my gastroenterologist earlier this week.  From my discussion with him, he thinks my nausea and appetite issues may be related to insufficient digestive enzymes (my discomfort has gotten a little worse, and additional abdominal pain similar to last year has returned).  He ordered a full panel of bloodwork, which hasn't returned results yet.  Out of caution, the doctor ordered another CT scan scheduled for next Tuesday.

Last year, my regular doctor was convinced something was unusual regarding my pancreas.  He said my discomfort and slightly elevated lipase were enough cause for concern to order the CT scan (he seemed more concerned that my lipase levels were elevated only slightly than he would have been if my lipase was significantly higher, he said something wasn't right but my lipase would be much higher if it was pancreatitis).  I spent two weeks absolutely terrified of what the CT would reveal, and I suppose that experience is the cause of my current apprehension.  I had read that unexplained back pain is an early indicator of pancreatic cancer, and my issue last year has left me a little fearful.  When the results came back clear for cancer, I was relieved enough that I didn't pursue the matter any further.  When my doctor referred me to a gastroenterologist, I just had a colonoscopy/endoscopy (which was due since I had just turned 50) and didn't bring up any previous issues when those results were clear (three polyps removed from the colon and determined to be non-cancerous, and some suspicious looking tissue in the esophagus was negative for Barrett's esophagus).

Good afternoon, getting back to MedHelp after a months long absence. Your post caught my eye as I am a pancreatic survivor.

It was caught at Stage IB, diagnosis on 14 May 2015. I did have successful surgery on 2 June that year, which was followed by relatively mild chemo, July though December. No evidence of active, cancer related disease since.

It is a stealth disease most usually. Mine was caught because the tumor collapsed my bile duct. The main secondary symptom was (mostly) painless jaundice. CT showed something was there, but it took an ERCP (think endoscopy on steroids) to place stents and take a biopsy to confirm.

Having lost 3 family members to it, I really hope your docs found a lesser illness.

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