Pancreatic cancer is a disease whereby cancerous cells form in the tissues of the pancreas – an organ in your abdomen that lies behind the lower part of your stomach. Unfortunately, pancreatic cancer can be difficult to diagnose in the early stages because it doesn’t usually cause any symptoms, however. But a change in body temperature could be a lesser-known warning sign.
A study published in the US National Library of Health investigated pancreatic cancer being masked as a fever.
In the study, a 63-year-old male patient presented daily fevers, night sweats and fatigue.
A computed tomography scan demonstrated a tumour between the duodenum and pancreatic head.
Infection is the most frequent (67 percent) aetiology of fever in cancer patients, while neoplastic fever, which is caused by the tumour itself or its invasive procedure, accounts for 27 percent of the non-infectious febrile episodes, noted the study.
It concluded that pancreatic adenocarcinoma could manifest as neoplastic fever at the time of diagnosis.
A part of the brain called the hypothalamus controls your body temperature, said Cancer Research UK.
The health charity added: “Normally, the hypothalamus keeps the temperature of the inside of your body at around 37C (98.6F).
“This can vary depending on the time of day and what you’re doing. But generally, it stays around 36.5 and 37C.
“Fever is a common symptom in people with all types of cancers. It can be very uncomfortable and cause a lot of concern for you and those looking after you.
“If you have cancer and develop symptoms of a fever or infection it might be nothing, but it could be a sign of a very serious infection.”
Other symptoms of pancreatic cancer may include:
- Abdominal pain that radiates to your back
- Loss of appetite or unintended weight loss
- Yellowing of your skin and the whites of your eyes (jaundice)
- Light-coloured stools
- Dark-coloured urine
- Itchy skin
- New diagnosis of diabetes or existing diabetes that’s becoming more difficult to control
- Blood clots