Terrified I have pancreatic cancer due to my symptoms and history
I know some people may be angry that I'm being dramatic but I really am terrified. The past 4 years I've lost 5 loved ones including my grandma in law to stomach cancer and my uncle to pancreatic cancer. My uncle only lived 8 months with it and he was only 40.
I have been having issues with my back especially my shoulder for a while now and also stomach problems. I do have anxiety so ik it might just be that however, this is definitely different. I have been given yet another course of anti-acids but with reflux before I didn't experience so much upper abdominal pain including a dull ache under my left ribs. I also have pain under my left shoulder blade and seem to have a nerve thing going down my arm sometimes and also I seem to get pins and needles alot in my heels compared to most.
I went to the doctors worried about my tummy he pressed around and gave me more antiacids but honestly I just feel ….terrified beyond belief that I have cancer and they're not putting 2 and 2 together or that they'll miss it until its too late because of the symptoms. I've worked myself up into a blind panic to be honest and I don't know what to do. Do i just confront the doctor with my fears?
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Share your fears. Also make sure you are being evaluated and treated by an expert. Screening for pancreatic cancer with MRI or EUS is appropriate for your family history. Good luck with finding help. Persistence is essential!
Thank you I will go back and just tell them why I'm worried
Go to the ER. I was jaundiced and had dark pee and the testing wasn’t in any hurry to get me answers. A friend took me to the er and I knew I had pancreatic cancer at 2am the next day. They put in a stint to release all the bile Ann’s I felt so much better. Worry is unproductive. Breathe and try to relax.
Ahhh I may contact 111 and just say what I'm worried about maybe. It's hard not to worry after seeing my uncles experience 🙁 he also found out after going to A+E I believe
When you say five loved ones, you only mention one that is a blood relative. Was the uncle a sister or brother to your mother or father or an uncle through marriage? If your Grandmother was the mother to your father or mother, than that parent should inquire about genetic testing. If a geneticist tests the appropriate parent and there is a genetic mutation found, the geneticist will recommend offspring of the parent to be tested. Health insurance will then cover the cost.
Pancreatic cancer in someone age 23 is extremely unlikely but there are rare instances of it. The median age is 70 and the incidence begins to rise from age 50 onward. Health anxiety is a real issue and those suffering from it should have a consult with their PCP who can suggest the appropriate professional that can help individuals deal with the anxiety and worry that it produces.
I'm usually quite good at handling my health anxiety but I've been feeling worried about my symptoms for a while so hearing they all come under pancreatic cancer really threw me.
Also not all 5 relatives were related to me by blood I was more saying that due to losing so many people I feel really vulnerable. It was only my uncle who had pancreatic cancer and he was my blood relative. He was only 40, but he did drink and smoke which I don't and I know they're risk factors.
Thank you for the reassurance anyway, I am trying to stay calm and just deal with it
Smoking and alcohol consumption are the two major contributing factors to the development of pancreatic cancer. It causes somatic mutations…those that arise as a result of environmental factors such as pollution, toxic chemicals, etc. Social habits are another source of somatic (spontaneous) mutations and this is where smoking, alcohol, diet high in processed foods and fats contributing to obesity fall under. A consult with a geneticist will tell you it is not necessary for testing when a blood relative had a history of smoking and alcohol use.
Thanks for sharing your insights!
@jsd, I agree with others in this discussion. Pancreatic cancer in your 20s is very rare. But you should share your concerns with your doctor. Be honest and share why you are afraid. They can explain why and how they have ruled out the possibility of cancer.
@jsd , The first indication of my PC was elevated liver enzymes due to my bile duct being blocked by the tumor.
@colleenyoung 's point is right on: Ask them to explain how they ruled out the possibility of cancer.
When doctors go on "intuition and experience" instead of data, I always get worried, like when my daughter's mononucleosis was misdiagnosed as "an obvious case of strep throat."
Some of the most basic tests and indicators that might reveal PC are dirt cheap. Maybe ask your docs if they'll order a few tests, such as liver panel, CA19-9, and CEA (along with CBC & CMP if you haven't had them in a while) to get a little data for reassurance. If insurance is an issue, you can find some affordable self-pay options at https://www.mdsave.com/
It would be good to have the above info in hand in case you get stuck in the longer pipeline of waiting for an ultrasound, MRI/MRCP, or endoscopic ultrasound.
Given the family history: I think the Invitae genetic test for some 80+ mutations was only about $250 (I could be wrong). But once a family member tests positive for certain mutations, Invitae can test you for that mutation alone for $99, and I understand they can now do it with a saliva sample instead of blood test.
One noteworthy item about genetic tests: Although the Genetic Non-Discrimination Act prohibits from using the results any genetic tests to deny you health care coverage, that doesn't extend to life insurance coverage. I encourage everyone of any age to get some kind of life insurance coverage that's independent of your employment before you get the genetic tests (if possible) and before you get cancer (if possible!).