Pancreatic cancer

Pancreatic cancer (pancreatic carcinoma) is a dangerous type of cancer.


Pancreatic cancer (pancreatic carcinoma) is a dangerous type of cancer. The tumour goes unnoticed for a long time. Jaundice, abdominal and back pain only occur at an advanced stage. Treatment mainly includes painkillers, chemotherapy and possibly surgery.


Main symptoms

Pancreatic cancer initially causes few or no symptoms. By the time it becomes noticeable, the cancer is often quite advanced:

  • Jaundice
  • Itching
  • Abdominal pain (predominantly in upper abdomen)
  • Back pain

Other symptoms

  • Loss of appetite and weight loss
  • Digestive disorders, nausea, vomiting
  • Loss of strength
  • Anaemia, fatigue
  • Fever
  • Night sweats

Causes and treatment


The exact cause is unknown. Some risk factors are:

Further treatment by your doctor / in hospital

Possible tests
  • Ultrasound
  • CT scan (computed tomography)
  • MRI (magnetic resonance imaging)
  • Examination of pancreatic and bile ducts using a contrast agent (ERCP)
  • Duodenal endoscopy with biopsy
Possible therapies
  • Painkillers
  • Chemotherapy
  • Operation

Pancreatic cancer is generally difficult to treat and often cannot be definitively cured.

What can I do myself?

When to see a doctor?

  • Painless and increasing yellowish discolouration of skin or eyes (jaundice)
  • Involuntary weight loss
  • Persistent and unclear pain in the back and stomach area

Further information

Swiss Cancer League (Krebsliga Schweiz)

Exclusion of liability

CSS offers no guarantee for the accuracy and completeness of the information. The information published is no substitute for professional advice from a doctor or pharmacist.