Four telltale signs of steatorrhea that may signal pancreatic cancer

Thousands of people each year receive the frightening news of a pancreatic cancer diagnosis in the UK. The fact that symptoms often don’t show up in the early stages doesn’t help these grim statistics. However, once symptoms appear, steatorrhea is a key sign that needs to be addressed.

Whatever happens once you close the bathroom door is entirely up to you.

However, paying attention to your bowel movements can mean the difference between finding cancerous changes and overlooking symptoms.

While you can link stool changes to bowel cancer, pancreatic cancer can also sound the alarm in the closet.

Steatorrhea describes excess fat in the stool, which changes its structure and appearance.

READ MORE: A 33-year-old man sees his cholesterol drop by 52.8% in “weeks” after making simple dietary adjustments.

According to Cancer Research UK, size, color, smell and frequency can signal this telltale sign of pancreatic cancer.

The charity says: “You may have frequent, large, pale-colored, odorous bowel movements that are difficult to wash off.

“These bowel changes may mean that you are not digesting food properly. It can also lead to weight loss.”

These four telltale signs can help identify pancreatic cancer and signal it’s time to “see your GP.”

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Steatorrhea usually occurs when pancreatic cancer starts in the head of the pancreas, making it more likely to compress the bile ducts. If the duct is blocked, it can lead to this smelly and visual symptom.

However, changes in stool are not the only sign of pancreatic cancer. The NHS lists all of these signs:

  • The whites of your eyes or your skin turn yellow (jaundice)
  • Itchy skin, urine darker and lighter than normal
  • Loss of appetite or weight loss without trying
  • Feeling tired or lack of energy
  • High fever or feeling hot or chilly
  • feeling or sickness
  • Diarrhea or constipation or other changes in stool
  • Pain in the upper abdomen and back (may get worse when you eat or lie down and get better when you lean forward)
  • Symptoms of indigestion (such as feeling bloated).

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These symptoms do not necessarily mean you have pancreatic cancer, as they can be caused by other conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome.

However, according to the NHS, it’s “important” to have them checked by your GP if they change, get worse, or don’t seem normal to you.

“Anyone can get pancreatic cancer, even if you don’t think you’re more likely to get it,” the health service says.

Depending on your doctor’s advice, your GP may then schedule you for some tests or refer you to a specialist in a hospital.

How to lower your risk of pancreatic cancer

Although pancreatic cancer is not always preventable, some lifestyle changes can make a big difference.

The NHS recommends reducing the amount of red and processed meats — ham, bacon, salami — that you eat.

Trying to lose weight if you are overweight can also be beneficial, according to the health service.

In addition, quitting smoking and reducing alcohol consumption can also reduce the risk of cancer.

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