Cancer Home > Pancreatic Cancer Causes

At this point, researchers have not yet identified any causes of pancreatic cancer; however, research has shown that there are certain risk factors for the disease. For example, smoking cigarettes, having diabetes, and being male can are some of the factors that put you at a higher risk of developing this type of cancer.

What Causes Pancreatic Cancer?

Researchers have not yet identified any exact pancreatic cancer causes. Doctors can seldom explain why one person will get pancreatic cancer and another person will not. However, it is clear that this disease is not contagious. Pancreatic cancer research has shown that people with certain risk factors are more likely than others to develop pancreatic cancer. A risk factor is anything that increases a person's chances of developing a disease. However, such risk factors are not pancreatic cancer causes.

Know the Risk Factors

Specific pancreatic cancer risk factors include:
  • Growing older (risk increases with age)
  • Smoking cigarettes
  • Having diabetes
  • Being male
  • Being African American
  • Having a family history of pancreatic, colon, or ovarian cancer
  • Having certain hereditary conditions
  • Having chronic pancreatitis.
The likelihood of developing pancreatic cancer increases with age. Pancreatic cancer occurs more often in people over the age of 60 than in younger people.
Smoking Cigarettes
Cigarette smokers are two or three times more likely than nonsmokers to develop pancreatic cancer.
Having Diabetes
Pancreatic cancer occurs more often in people who have diabetes than in people who do not have diabetes.
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
Last updated/reviewed:
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