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BCM - Baylor College of Medicine

Giving life to possible

The Elkins Pancreas Center

Risks Factors for Pancreatic Cancer

Studies have found that the following risk factors are associated with pancreatic cancer.

  • Age: Most cases of pancreatic cancer are found in individuals over the age of 60.
  • Smoking has been associated with a two-three fold increased risk of pancreatic cancer. Cigarette smoke contains a large number of carcinogens and is one of the leading causes of many cancers, so it is not surprising that it factors into pancreatic cancer.
  • Diabetes: A new diagnosis of diabetes or worsening diabetes in older patients is a potential sign of pancreatic cancer.
  • Gender: More men than women are diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.
  • Race: Studies in the United States have shown that pancreatic cancer is more common in the African-American population than it is in the Caucasian population.
  • Family History: The risk of developing pancreatic cancer triples if a parent or sibling had the disease.
  • Chronic Pancreatitis: Chronic (persisting over a long period of time) pancreatitis, particularly inherited chronic pancreatitis, increases the risk of later developing pancreatic cancer.