Jaundice

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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.

 

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