Pancreatic Cancer Alliance

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What are the risk factors?

  • Diabetes: the association between pancreatic cancer and diabetes is not well understood. It is possible that the cancer causes some cases of diabetes, rather than diabetes causing the cancer.

  • Age: 80% of cases are diagnosed in people over 60. Pancreatic cancer is uncommon in people under 40.

  • Chronic pancreatitis: long-term inflammation of the pancreas can increase your risk five-fold.

  • Genetics: there may be a genetic link in up to one in ten cases of pancreatic cancer. A number of gene mutations can increase your risk: Breast cancer gene 2 (BRAC2), Peutz-Jeghers Syndrome, Familial Atypical Mole Melanoma (FAMM), Hereditary Non-Polyposis Colorectal Cancer (HNPCC) and Familial Adenomatous Polyposis (FAP).

  • Smoking: doubles your risk.

  • Other minor risk factors may include a diet with a high intake of red meat and/or saturated fat, and a reduced intake of fruits and vegetables; and frequent exposure to certain pesticides and petroleum products.