About Pancreatic Cancer

Risk Factors

It is well known why people develop certain diseases. However, pancreatic cancer is one whose origin in patients has not been firmly established. Nonetheless, researchers have identified a number of possible contributing causes. Even though these are not considered conclusive causes, people involved in these activities or who have other serious medical complications are urged to be aware of their possible risk of developing pancreatic cancer. Risk factors include:

·        Age: The risk of developing pancreatic cancer increases as people grow older, and nearly all patients are diagnosed after the age of 45. Additionally, nearly 90% of patients are older than 55 and nearly three-fourths are older than 65 when diagnosed.

·        Obesity: Extremely overweight people and those who do not exercise regularly are more likely to develop a form of the disease known as exocrine pancreatic cancer than those who control their weight and exercise. In fact, regular exercise appears to lower the risk of developing pancreatic cancer and many other forms of the disease.·        Tobacco: Pancreatic cancer is three times more likely to occur in those who smoke. Between 20% and 30% of exocrine pancreatic cancer cases are believed to be caused by cigarette smoking. Scientists believe that cancer-causing chemicals in cigarette smoke enter the bloodstream and may damage the pancreas, resulting in cancer. People who use smokeless tobacco also are more likely to develop exocrine pancreatic cancer than those who don't.

·        Compromised health: Risk for developing the disease also appears to increase among people who have a history of pancreatitis, diabetes, and alcohol use. Those who have a family history of pancreatic cancer also are considered at risk.

·        A comparatively small number of cases are believed to result from genetic conditions.

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