What is jaundice?
Jaundice is when your skin and the whites of your eyes turn yellow. This happens when you get a build-up of bile in your body. Bile is a liquid which your liver makes to help you digest food. Sometimes, pancreatic cancer can block the tube which carries the bile. This tube is called the bile duct. If this tube gets blocked, the bile builds up and you may get jaundice. Read more about jaundice and pancreatic cancer.
What is a stent?
Stents are small tubes that are put into the bile duct. Pancreatic cancer can also block the duodenum, which is the first part of the small intestine. This causes sickness. A stent can be put into the duodenum to open it and treat the sickness. Read more about stents for the duodenum here.
Your symptoms should start to improve soon after having a stent put in.
- You may have a stent put in to treat your jaundice if you can’t have surgery to remove the cancer.
- If you have jaundice and your cancer can be removed by surgery but you are not yet well enough to have the operation, you may have a stent put into the bile duct before the surgery.
- If your cancer can be removed by surgery and you are well enough to have the operation straight away, the surgery will treat the jaundice.
- You may have a stent put in to treat jaundice if you are to going to have chemotherapy before surgery.
There can be problems with a stent. For example, it can get blocked or move out of place. There is also a risk of getting an infection or an inflamed pancreas (pancreatitis). But your doctor or nurse can treat these problems if they happen.