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Pancreatic Cancer

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

  • Age (most often seen in people older than 60)
  • Sex (men are 30% more likely to develop pancreatic cancer than women)
  • Chronic pancreatitis
  • Diet (a diet high in meats and fats appears to increase risk)
  • Diabetes mellitus
  • Exposure to 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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