Does Pancreatic Cancer Cause Extra Phlegm?

The answer will be a yes. However this does not occur in all patients with pancreatic cancer. There are few pathologies associated with advanced stages of pancreatic cancer in some patients. Continue reading the article to know more about how pancreatic cancer can cause someone to produce excess phlegm from their illness.

Having pancreatic cancer can be really devastating as most patients will only show signs and symptoms of pancreatic malignancy at the end or advanced stages. Generally, pancreatic cancer patients can produce excess phlegm from 2 reasons which occur due to the complications of the malignancy itself.

The first reason will be due to metastasis of tumor to the lungs. This simply means that the tumor has spread to distant organs like the liver and lungs. Once it has spread to the lungs, patients can manifest multiple respiratory symptoms like prolonged chesty cough, shortness of breath, coughing up blood and reduced effort tolerance. This typically occurs in patients with advanced stages of pancreatic cancer with very less chances of total cure. Further investigations like a chest x ray, followed by a series of other investigations like CT scan and more will be often required to prove the tumor spread.

Apart from that, pancreatic cancer patients who are very ill and bedbounded can also produce excess phlegm. This is because prolonged immobility and bed bound can cause build up of mucus in the lungs leading to production of excess phlegm during coughing. This can be prevented by proper and adequate chest physiotherapy to prevent build up of mucus in the lungs. Some patients with this condition will be treated with expectorant medications to get rid of the excess phlegm in your lungs.

What are the Symptoms of Pancreatic Cancer?

There are some common signs and symptoms of pancreatic cancer, however most of the symptoms are very vague and require very careful medical attention for early diagnosis and treatment. Most pancreatic cancers are only diagnosed at an advanced stage due to the vague signs and symptoms. Here are some of the common symptoms reported by patients.

  • Yellow discoloration of the whitish part of your eyes and skin as well. This is called jaundice in medical terms. You will also experience pale stool and tea coloured urine. This is due to a condition of obstructive jaundice. The tumor at the head of the pancreas obstructs the biliary tree and causes obstruction to the free flowing bilirubin.
  • Loss of appetite and loss of weight which are usually not intentional. This loss of weight is usually drastic and seen as loosening of clothes and pants.
  • Feeling lethargic always without doing much chores. It is mostly associated with intermittent fever. This is often called as constitutional symptoms and experienced mostly by all cancer patients.
  • Other symptoms which involve digestion such as having diarrhea, constipation, epigastric pain radiating to the back and after eating. Bloating sensation and feeling of indigestion.

If you have any of these symptoms for a prolonged period of time, do make sure to meet a doctor to get you evaluated thoroughly and conduct some investigations to come with a working diagnosis. It is extremely important to meet a doctor if you have any of the major risk factors for the occurrence of pancreatic cancer.

Do bear in mind that these signs and symptoms will also be present in other common diseases. Thus your doctor will have to take an elaborate history with some appropriate specific physical examination to support the diagnosis made. Your GP will then order some investigations or refer you to a specialist centre for further evaluation and cancer diagnosis requires further specific investigations.