Jump to content

Depression, gum disease & pancreatic cancer


Recommended Posts

I lost my mum to this awful disease about five months ago and I'm sorry to see that there are quite a few others who have lost loved ones just recently. I know that you all have other things on your minds but I just wanted to ask if anyone else had noticed that their loved ones had become depressed sometime before the diagnosis. I read recently that depression was quite closely linked to pancreatic cancer - and was likely to be an early symptom rather than a side effect of coping with the disease once the diagnosis has been made which I know often happens with cancer. I noticed my mum had become quite depressed a good 2 years before her pancreatic cancer was finally diagnosed. A second thing that I have noticed crops up as related to pancreatic cancer is gum disease - again that is something that mum suffered from frequently in the months before diagnosis. I'm not saying that these symptoms alone should have signalled pancreatic cancer but I do wonder if they had been considered alongside the more common problems she had (in mum's case, central abdominal and back pain) we might have got an earlier diagnosis.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Oh my, oh my! My jaw hit the floor when I read your message, Chinup. Ted (who is distinctly not the depressive type) first started suffering with depression about three years ago and has lost a number of teeth during that time too. I'd heard that there was a link between depression and pancreatic cancer but I assumed it was after diagnosis as a result of the generally poor prognosis. Your message prompted a quick research session with the help of Google and there appear to be a number of studies which indicate that both depression and gum disease often occur prior to diagnosis. As you say, it wouldn't be feasible to take these two issues in isolation to prompt investigation for pancreatic cancer but it does add a little to the knowledge about the disease. One day...one day...nobody will have to suffer as your Mum did and I can only pray that day comes soon.

Nicki xx

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I definately suffered from depression prior to diagnosis....however, I did have 3 babies in a short period of time and so blamed it on hormones etc. Also the general marital issues like 'you choose footie over me' and 'you are only nice to me when you want some nookie' :P . That was something else that suffered was my libido, not sure if that's the type of info you wanted to hear....lol. My teeth/gums were alright though, so whether that is down to age I am not sure.

My tumor was found in 2005 and I was told it was a cyst. Up until 2007 it produced the enzymes to digest my food and insulin without any problems. It was during my pregnancy in 2007 that it stopped producing the enzymes, but still produced the insulin. 'They' are still unsure of when the so called cyst turned to cancer and/or if it had been cancerous from the beginning. The more I read about enzymes the more important they seem to be, not just for digesting food - but in some schools of thought the Pancreas is one of your most important organs for fighting cancer itself.....Did your family members start off with not being able to digest food properly at all? Or did that symptom come later in the diagnosis/treatment stage of things?

Take care all *hug*


Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi Juliana

My mum certainly had digestive problems long before she started having other symptoms (like the pain etc). We just always knew mum as having a dodgy bowel, don't give her too many peas, etc ....! However, I do remember in the year or two before diagnosis she was complaining more of wind and painful explosive bowels with undigested food, etc, but this seemed to come and go and she put it down to the problems she'd had all her life. Her tumour was in the tail of the pancreas, 2 cm on diagnosis with questionable lymph involvement, but it was deemed advanced. Not sure I understand why looking back. Anyway, she never had any of the enzyme producing problems, they told us because the tumour wasn't blocking the exocrine action of the pancreas. So, in answer to your question, yes, she couldn't digest food properly long before the real action started.


Good to hear from you and I'm very interested to hear about Ted's experiences ... some similarities then. My mum definitely had teeth/gum problems, in fact in the couple of months before the cancer was diagnosed she was backwards and forwards to the dentist with a gum infection which wouldn't clear up no matter how hard they tried, also she had major work done in the couple of years before with rotten teeth and one thing and another. They had to give up on that in the end. I am trying to think of any other symptoms she had ... well, yes, she found it hard to shake off minor bugs etc and would often complain of severe muscle pain/spasms which took weeks/months to ease - I remember her having a bad thigh for ages. As to the depression, mum was never the life and soul, in fact she could put a downer on anything but this became much worse. If I had to put a timescale on it, I would say that about 4 years before her diagnosis in April 2008, she was having all these new, possibly related, problems. Well actually, no probably about it, I'm sure they were related.

Thanks for replying, XX

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
  • Create New...

Important Information

We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue. By using our forums you agree to our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.