Patient Referral

End-of-Life Pancreatic Cancer Signs

Pancreatic cancer can be hard to initially detect because of its vague symptoms. However, with an estimated 56,770 new cases per year, unfortunately patients do experience distressing symptoms at end-of-life if not effectively treated. If you are a family caregiver of a person with pancreatic cancer, it’s important to know the end-of-life signs for a pancreatic cancer patient. By being able to recognize these signs, you can help your loved one by effectively communicating to the patient’s doctor and/or hospice care provider.

What are the pancreatic cancer end-of-life signs?

Below are some of the most common end-of-life signs for pancreatic cancer. All or just some of the below signs may be present as the end-of-life approaches. If your loved one is experiencing some of the following symptoms, we recommend you contact a healthcare professional:

  • Pain (generally in the back or abdomen)
  • Weight loss
  • Loss of appetite or eating and drinking less
  • Nausea
  • Changes in stool (color)
  • Abdominal bloating
  • Dark colored urine
  • Changes in breathing
  • Sleepiness
  • Anxiety and agitation
  • Confusion
  • Paleness or changes in skin color Jaundice (yellow skin color)
  • Restlessness
  • Withdrawing and/or speaking less frequently

Tips for managing end-of-life pancreatic cancer symptoms.

As a family caregiver, there is actually quite a bit you can do to help your loved one manage the signs and symptoms of end-of-life pancreatic cancer. For instance, if the patient is experiencing pain, anxiety, or restlessness, you can help by administering medicine that can alleviate some of this discomfort. You can also help by being present for your loved one and being there for them should they have questions or simply want to talk. Sometimes, you just being there is enough.

What you can do for your loved one.

As mentioned above, family caregivers can help by providing information to the primary care physician and the hospice care provider. For instance, if you noticed the symptoms above but the patient is unable to communicate to the doctor, you can do so for them. Additionally, if a hospice care provider has not yet been contacted, you can reach out to one yourself (a common misconception is that the doctor must be the one to contact a hospice provider, but if you think hospice can provide comfort now, there is no reason to wait).

Hospice eligibility and pancreatic cancer.

Interested in learning more about the signs of end-of-life pancreatic cancer? Or simply have questions related to how hospice care can help? Crossroads is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to answer any question you may have. Choose one of the options in the blue Help Center bar above to speak with someone now.

End-of-Life signs by disease.

Learn about the specific end-of-life signs of common diseases and illnesses:

More end-of-life resources.