This is often described as a sign of liver or gallbladder problems, but interestingly enough, it is the most characteristic sign of pancreas cancer located in the head of the pancreas. This structure is in contact with the gallbladder and the bile duct, and cancer growth in this area leads to an obstruction in the normal flow of bile, and something called obstructive jaundice, which is to be verified by lab tests.
These patients won’t usually have abdominal pain unless the tumor has grown large enough to cause additional symptoms. They may have other symptoms associated with jaundice, especially dark urine and pale stools, and these symptoms may even appear before a change of coloration in the skin.
In most cases, patients with jaundice experience continuous skin itching, and in most cases it becomes the most distressing symptom. All of these symptoms appear because there’s an obstruction to the normal flow of bile to the intestines. The bile contains bilirubin, a substance with a very intense color that accumulates in the blood and passes to the skin, causing a yellow color and itching. Since bile is no longer changing the color of the stools, they look pale, and since the kidneys are left in charge of clearing the blood from bilirubin, it appears in the urine and changes its color.