What increases my risk of pancreatic cancer?

older man smoking

These risk factors increase your chance of developing pancreatic cancer: 

  • Age  - it's more common in older people
  • Smoking 
  • Being overweight
  • Diabetes (most diabetics do not get pancreatic cancer) 
  • Chronic pancreatitis
  • Family history of  pancreatic cancer (not common)
  • Workplace chemicals: Exposed to radiation, aluminium, acrylamide in the workplace. More research is needed to prove this

A family history of these conditions also increase the risk: 

  • Hereditary pancreatitis (rare)
  • Breast and ovarian cancers with BRCA2 genes (and possibly BRCA1)
  • Bowel conditions such as familial adenomatous polyposis (FAP), hereditary nonpolyposis colon cancer (HNPCC/Lynch syndrome) and Peutz-Jeghers syndrome
  • Mole skin conditions like familial atypical multiple mole melanoma syndrome (FAMMM)

Having a risk factor doesn’t mean you will definitely get cancer. Sometimes people with no risk factors get the disease. If you’re worried, talk to your GP or talk to one of our cancer nurses. Call the Cancer Nurseline on 1800 200 700 or visit a Daffodil Centre. 

Reducing your risk of pancreatic cancer

The most important thing you can do to reduce your risk of pancreatic cancer is to:

  • Keep a healthy weight for your height
  • Stop smoking
  • Talk to your GP about screening if you have a family history of pancreatic cancer

For more information

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1800 200 700

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