What is Pancreatic Cancer? What can lead to it? Find out here.

With the death of former Apple CEO Steve Jobs due to pancreatic cancer, a lot have been asking: WHAT IS PANCREATIC CANCER AND AM I AT RISK AT GETTING IT?

Here are some factors that can lead to Pancreatic Cancer from Johns Hopkins Medicine:

Some of the risk factors include:

1.Cigarette smoking: Smoking doubles the risk of pancreatic cancer. Smoking is also associated with early age at diagnosis, and, very importantly, the risk of pancreatic cancer drops close to normal in people who quit smoking. Simply put, cigarette smoking is the leading preventable cause of pancreatic cancer. In fact, some scientists have estimated that one in four, or one in five cases of pancreatic cancer are caused by smoking cigarettes.

2.Age: The risk of developing pancreatic cancer increases with age. Over 80% of the cases develop between the ages of 60 and 80.

3.Race: Studies in the United States have shown that pancreatic cancer is more common in the African American population than it is in the white population. Some of this increased risk may be due to socioeconomic factors and to cigarette smoking.

4.Gender: Cancer of the pancreas is more common in men than in women. Men are more likely to smoke than women.

5.Religious background: Pancreatic cancer is proportionally more common in Ashkenazi Jews than the rest of the population. This may be because of a particular inherited mutation in the breast cancer gene (BRCA2) which runs in some Ashkenazi Jewish families.

6.Chronic pancreatitis: Long-term inflammation of the pancreas (pancreatitis) has been linked to cancer of the pancreas.

7.Diabetes: Diabetes is both a symptom of pancreatic cancer, and long-standing adult-onset diabetes also increases the risk of pancreatic cancer.

8.Obesity: Obesity significantly increases the risk of pancreatic cancer.

9.Diet: Diets high in meats, cholesterol fried foods and nitrosamines may increase risk, while diets high in fruits and vegetables reduce risk. Folate may be protective.

10.Genetics: As mentioned earlier, a number of inherited cancer syndromes increase the risk of pancreatic cancer. These include inherited mutations in the BRCA2, FAMMM, PalB2 or Peutz-Jeghers genes. To learn more about familial pancreatic cancer visit the web site of the National Familial Pancreas Tumor Registry.

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