Pancreatic Cancer

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The main risk factor for pancreatic cancer is preventable: smoking. About 30% of pancreatic cancers are thought to be a direct result of cigarette smoking. Other risks include:

  • Age (most often seen in those older than 60)
  • Sex (Men are 30% more likely to develop pancreatic cancer.)
  • Chronic pancreatitis
  • Diet (A diet high in meats and fats appears to increase risk.)
  • Diabetes mellitus
  • Exposure to some industrial chemicals, such as certain pesticides and petroleum products
  • Family history (An inherited tendency may be a factor in 5% to 10% of cases.)

It should be noted that most people who have known risk factors do not get pancreatic cancer, and many who do get pancreatic cancer have none of these risk factors.

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