A COMMON complaint could be an early sign of deadly cancer, a study has warned.
Patients who have suffered with gallstones are more likely to then be diagnosed with pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC).
New research found these people were six times more likely to develop the aggressive cancer.
It could be a red flag patients may be diagnosed within the year if they have gallstone disease.
PDAC is the most common type of pancreatic cancer, making up more than 90 per cent of cases.
It is often fatal because it is usually found when it is in the late stages.
Marianna Papageorge, MD, lead researcher on the study and research fellow at Boston Medical Center, said: “Pancreatic cancer can be difficult to diagnose and then chances of survival are slim.
"Our findings suggest that gallstone disease may be a way to better diagnose this type of cancer – meaning we could save more lives.
“Gallstone disease does not cause pancreatic cancer but understanding its association with PDAC can help combat the high mortality rate with pancreatic cancer by providing the opportunity for earlier diagnosis and treatment.
“It is such a terrible disease, and survival is so low.
Most read in Health News
“People present at such advanced stages, so anything we can do to try to diagnose people earlier and make sure that they’re getting curative treatment is crucial.
"This might be a key to better understanding next steps in screening, management and earlier diagnosis.”
Earlier this year we revealed almost a third of people ignore deadly signs of cancer.
There are four key symptoms of pancreatic cancer which shouldn't be dismissed, Pancreatic Cancer UK has warned.
Experts have said it's important to seek help as soon as possible as pancreatic cancer is often diagnosed too late.
Key symptoms to look out for are back pain, indigestion, stomach pain and weight loss.
If you have suffered with any of these for more than four weeks, you must go to your GP.
Pancreatic Cancer UK the charity urges anyone with jaundice, the yellowing of skin or eyes, should go to A&E straight away.
Diana Jupp, CEO of Pancreatic Cancer UK, said: “It is hugely worrying to hear that so many people would put off seeking help for so long.
"Pancreatic cancer has not gone away because of Covid-19 and I would urge anyone with persistent, unexplained symptoms to use the NHS.
“There is no time to wait with pancreatic cancer. Thousands of people a year, still reeling from hearing the word cancer, are told it’s too late, that nothing can be done for them. That must stop.
“We do not want people to panic if they have some or all of these symptoms, because most people who do will not have pancreatic cancer.
"But it is absolutely vital that people learn more about this disease, talk to their loved ones, and help us end the culture of silence around the deadliest common cancer in the UK.”
We pay for your stories!
Do you have a story for The Sun news desk?