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.