A mix of genes and environmental risk factors contribute to this often deadly form of cancer.
Medical experts don’t know exactly why people develop pancreatic cancer, but they have made strides in understanding the biology of the disease and the factors that increase the risk of developing pancreatic cancer. Like other types of cancer, pancreatic cancer results from changes (mutations) in the DNA of certain cells in the pancreas. These genetic mutations direct the cells to multiply wildly and form malignant tumors.
Is pancreatic cancer hereditary?
Researchers estimate that about 10% of the time, the answer is yes. Gene mutations that increase susceptibility to disease are passed from parent to child. A 2018 study identified six genes linked to pancreatic cancer. In this study, the genes were identified more frequently in people with a family history of the disease. Pancreatic cancer can also be the result of genetic mutations that occur throughout life, for various reasons related to environmental influences or lifestyle choices, such as: To need.
In many patients, the cause of pancreatic cancer is unknown. Researchers believe that the trigger for the disease could be a random event that occurs spontaneously in cells.
What increases the risk of pancreatic cancer?
In the general population, a person has an average risk of developing pancreatic cancer.
But there are a number of factors that can increase the chances:
The older you are, the more likely you are to develop pancreatic cancer. About 90% of those affected are over 55 and 70% over 65 years old. But younger people can also develop pancreatic cancer.
Men are more likely to develop pancreatic cancer than women.
Smokers have twice the risk of pancreatic cancer as non-smokers; About 20-30% of pancreatic cancers are associated with cigarette smoking. Cigars, pipes, and smokeless tobacco products can also cause problems.
obesity and diet
Obese people have an approximately 20% higher risk of developing pancreatic cancer. Overweight (but not obese) men and women are also at greater risk, especially if they have extra pounds around their waists. Although the link between pancreatic cancer and diet needs more research, some studies have linked the disease to a high intake of fatty foods or a diet high in red or processed meat (such as sausage) and low in fruits and vegetables.
There is ample evidence linking diabetes to pancreatic cancer, particularly in people who have had the disease for many years. Sudden onset of diabetes can also be a symptom of pancreatic cancer.
Pancreatic cancer can run in families, most likely due to shared genetic mutations. This condition, called familial pancreatic cancer (CPF), accounts for about 10% of all cases. A family has PFC when two or more first-degree relatives (parent, child, sibling) have been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, or when three or more close relatives on the same side of the family have been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.
This painful inflammation of the pancreas, which can be caused by alcohol abuse, has been linked to pancreatic cancer.
Rare hereditary diseases
These are hereditary pancreatitis, Peutz-Jeghers syndrome, familial malignant melanoma and pancreatic cancer, hereditary breast and ovarian cancer syndrome, and Lynch syndrome.
chemicals in the workplace
Chemicals used for dry cleaning and metalworking are particularly dangerous.
A common bacterium called Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) causes inflammation and ulcers in the stomach and, to a lesser extent, may also increase the risk of pancreatic cancer.
Hepatitis B virus infection
There is some evidence linking the virus to pancreatic cancer, although more research is needed.
Often caused by alcohol abuse, this disease develops when damage to liver cells leads to the formation of scar tissue. (5)
Can Pancreatic Cancer Be Prevented?
Researchers are working to develop reliable detection tests to detect pancreatic cancer in its earliest stages, when it is most treatable. It is hoped to identify indicators of disease, also called biomarkers, that would be detectable by a blood test or analysis of some other substance in the body. Until these tests are available, people at high risk, such as from family inherited mutations or rare genetic disorders, can enroll in experimental screening programs that use various imaging techniques, such as endoscopic ultrasound and CT scans.
But while risk factors like family history can’t be changed, there are a number of things everyone can do to minimize their risk of developing pancreatic cancer:
– Do not smoke. This is the most important thing you can do to reduce your risk of pancreatic cancer.
– Maintain a healthy weight. To achieve this goal, follow a healthy diet that emphasizes plant-based foods and includes at least 2 ½ cups of fruits and vegetables daily. The cancer prevention guidelines also recommend choosing whole-grain breads, pasta, and cereals over refined grains, and opting for fish, poultry, or beans over processed meats and red meat.
– Limit alcohol. Some (but not all) studies have linked heavy drinking to pancreatic cancer.
– Avoid hazardous chemicals in the workplace. Minimize your exposure to chemicals known or suspected to cause cancer.
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