If you’ve ever had a baby, you may be familiar with jaundice. Jaundice causes the skin and eyes to appear yellow and affects about 60 percent of newborns. While it may be common and is typically harmless in infants, jaundice in adults may be an indicator of something far more serious.
Jaundice is caused by the buildup of bilirubin, a component of bile produced by the liver. It is also a symptom of pancreatic cancer. This can occur when a tumor blocks the bile duct connecting the pancreas to the liver. Elevated levels of bilirubin in the blood not only cause a yellowing of the skin and eyes, but can also cause itchy skin, dark urine and light or clay-colored stools.
Jaundice and itchy skin are what sent Karalayne Maglinte to the doctor. She was 15 weeks pregnant with her third child, and being in-tune with her body, she was persistent in seeking answers about what caused these symptoms. It may have helped save her life.
It is important to note that not all pancreatic cancer patients will experience jaundice, depending on the size and location of their tumor. However, if you are experiencing jaundice or any other pancreatic cancer symptoms, or if you have risk factors associated with pancreatic cancer, it is critical that you consult with a doctor to determine a diagnosis.
While jaundice can be a symptom at any stage of pancreatic cancer, when pancreatic cancer is diagnosed early, patients may be eligible for surgery, which offers the best chance for long-term control of the disease. This is why it’s important to know the symptoms and listen to your body.