Cancer originating in the pancreas. Pancreatic cancer is the fourth most common cause of cancer death in the United States. Depending on which part of the pancreas is affected, symptoms may include abdominal pain, loss of appetite, weight loss, nausea, vomiting, and jaundice (a yellowing of the skin and the whites of the eyes). Pain usually centers in the upper abdomen and may penetrate to the back. However, when cancer occurs in the head of the pancreas, there may be no pain. Other symptoms usually are not apparent until the cancer has advanced to an incurable stage.