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It is common for people with pancreatic cancer to experience jaundice.  Jaundice is a yellowing of the skin and eyes caused by excess bilirubin (a component of bile) in the blood.  A tumor in the head of the pancreas can cause narrowing of the bile duct and block the bile flowing from the gallbladder into the small intestine.  Blockage of the bile duct causes a buildup of bilirubin.  People with jaundice may also experience itchiness of the skin, abnormally dark urine and light or clay-colored stools.  If surgery to remove the tumor is possible, this can provide relief.  In some cases, a biliary bypass surgery may be performed to bypass the blocked bile duct.  For more information about bypass surgery, click here.  Otherwise, the jaundice is commonly treated by inserting a stent to keep the bile duct open.  For more information about stents, click here.


Information provided by the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network, Inc. (“PanCAN”) is not a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis, treatment or other health care services. PanCAN may provide information to you about physicians, products, services, clinical trials or treatments related to pancreatic cancer, but PanCAN does not recommend nor endorse any particular health care resource. In addition, please note that any personal information you provide to PanCAN’s associates during telephone and/or email communications may be stored and used to help PanCAN achieve its mission of assisting patients with, and finding cures and treatments for, pancreatic cancer. Stored constituent information may be used to inform PanCAN programs and activities. Information also may be provided in aggregate or limited formats to third parties to guide future pancreatic cancer research and treatment efforts. PanCAN will not provide personal directly identifying information (such as your name or contact information) to such third parties without your prior written consent unless required or permitted by law to do so.