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Risk Factors of Pancreatic Cancer

Topics Covered in this Article :

  • Risk factors of pancreatic cancer
  • Ways to prevent pancreatic cancer

Pancreatic cancer is a serious disease that develops when abnormal cells in the pancreas grow uncontrollably.

While the exact cause of pancreatic cancer is often unknown, certain risk factors can increase the likelihood of developing this condition.

The variables that increase a person’s likelihood of developing cancer vary across the many types of cancer. 

If you don’t know about pancreatic cancer then, click on What is Pancreatic Cancer | Symptoms, Cure, Causes

pancreatic cancer prevention

 The habit of smoking is one risk factor of pancreatic cancer that may be modified. Some, like a person’s age or background, are fixed and cannot be altered.

There may be some variables whose influence on cancer risk is either unknown or protective. 

Having one or more cancer risk factors does not guarantee that you will definitely get the disease. Furthermore, there may be no or few risk factors identified for some persons who get cancer.

This is because there are several aspects of cancer that are still unknown. With each passing day, we get new information on various cancers that potentially change the outcomes. 

Risk factors
of Pancreatic Cancer

Some of the things that have been linked to an increased likelihood of developing pancreatic cancer are listed below.

  • Smoking :

The chance of developing pancreatic cancer increases significantly when a person smokes. 

People who have smoked have around double the likelihood of developing pancreatic cancer as those who have never smoked. 

Cigarette smoking is blamed for around a quarter of all cases of pancreatic cancer. Risk is also increased by using smokeless tobacco products and cigars. 

In contrast, a person’s pancreatic cancer risk begins to decrease after they give up smoking.

  • Age :

The probability of being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer increases with age. 

Most patients are above the age of 45. About 66% are 65 or older. As a rule, people are 70 years old when they get a diagnosis.

Here’s a quick video of Dr. Praveen Kammar explaining, Why Prevention is better option rather than treatment for pancreatic cancer.

  • Chronic pancreatitis :

Recurrent injury to pancreatic cells predisposes them to a cancerous process. Alcohol is the leading cause of chronic pancreatitis. 


  • Hereditary pancreatitis :

Some individuals may suffer from pancreatic inflammation without any external factors. 

This is essential due to an abnormal immune response.  This mimics chronic pancreatitis but at an earlier age. 

Also Read : 5 Early Symptoms that Might Lead to Pancreatic Cancer

  • Obesity :

BMI more than 30 is associated with a 20% higher risk than average weight. Those who are already overweight as young adults are at an even greater risk.

Even in the absence of obesity, those with excessive abdominal fat may be at a greater risk.

  • Alcohol :


According to some research, heavy drinking has been linked to an increased risk of pancreatic cancer. 

Chronic pancreatitis, an illness exacerbated by excessive alcohol use, has been linked to an increased likelihood of developing pancreatic cancer.


  • Diabetes :

Patients with diabetes have an increased risk of developing pancreatic cancer. Those who already have type 2 diabetes are at the greatest risk. 

As childhood and teenage obesity rates grow, so does the prevalence of this kind of diabetes. 

One of the most common risk factors for developing type 2 diabetes in adulthood is carrying excess body fat. To what extent those with type 1 diabetes are at greater risk is unclear.

Read more about, Treatment options for Pancreatic Cancer

  • Family history :

Family History

There seems to be a familial link between pancreatic cancer and its development in certain people. This increased danger may run in these families because of a genetic condition.

However, in other families, the gene responsible for the heightened vulnerability is unknown.

Though having a family history of pancreatic cancer indeed increases your risk, the vast majority of individuals diagnosed with this disease have no such history in their own families.

  • Hereditary conditions :

These are inherited from the parents and are due to genetic changes. 

  1. Peutz Jeghers syndrome 
  2. FAMMM
  3. FAP 
  4. BRCA mutations 
  5. HNPCC
  6. Hereditary pancreatitis syndrome
  7. PALB 2 mutations

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Can we prevent pancreatic cancer?

Pancreatic cancer risk may be lowered if you do the following.

  • Quit smoking: 

stop smoking

Get off of cigarettes if you can. Discuss options with your doctor if you want to quit smoking. Just don’t start smoking if you don’t already.

  • Keep a healthy weight: 

If you’re already at a healthy weight, keep it that way! Aim for a gradual weight reduction of 1 to 2 pounds weekly if you need to reduce your body mass.

 To reduce weight, it is best to combine regular exercise with a diet high in fruits, vegetables, and healthy grains while eating fewer calories overall.

  • Adopt a balanced diet: 

There is some evidence that eating a diet rich in colourful fruits and vegetables and whole grains will help minimize the chance of developing cancer.

If pancreatic cancer runs in your family, you may want to consult with a genetic counsellor.

Together, you and your doctor may examine your family’s medical history to see whether a genetic test is necessary to identify the risk of developing pancreatic cancer or other cancer types.


Pancreatic cancer is a deadly disease with poor outcomes. Most of these cancers are identified at advanced stages where treatment options are limited.


Understanding and  Reducing the risk factors of pancreatic cancer is the only way of fighting this disease. 


    About Author
    Dr. Praveen Kammar

    Surgical Oncologist


    Years Of Experience

    Dr. Praveen Kammar is a Best Surgical Oncologist in Mumbai. His main area of expertise aslso includes GI oncology, Gynecological cancers, minimal access surgeries, Robotics surgery, Laparoscopic Surgery, HIPEC.

    Dr. Praveen has done more than 6000+ surgeries in his expertise.

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