DR P. MARAZZI / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY DR P. MARAZZI / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Jaundice. Dark urine and yellow skin from a 60 year old man caused by jaundice due to pancreatic cancer. A tumour at the head of the pancreas has blocked the bile duct, resulting in a build-up of bile. The yellow-brown bile pigment bilirubin builds up in body tissues, causing discoloration of the skin and urine. Jaundice is not a disease in itself, but is a symptom of many disorders of the liver and biliary system. Treatment is aimed at the underlying cause. Pancreatic cancer is treated by removal of the pancreas, often followed by radiotherapy and chemotherapy. It is hard to detect, however, and has often reached an inoperable stage by the time it is diagnosed.
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