Rosalyn Carson-DeWitt, MD
A risk factor is something that increases your chances of developing cancer. Some risk factors cannot be changed, such as family history or genetics. Fortunately, many risk factors can be modified.
A significant number of cases of
may be associated with smoking. Quitting smoking is an important step in preventing pancreatic and other cancers. The sooner smoking is stopped, the sooner the body can start to heal.
If you are a smoker, talk to your doctor about how to successfully quit. Treatment options include nicotine replacement, such as nicotine patch or gum, hypnotherapy, or group support.
Alcohol consumption may lead to pancreatic disorder, including cancer. If you
drink regularly, you should try to cut down on the amount of alcohol you drink, preferably stopping all together. Contact you doctor and consider joining a support group, like AA.
Being overweight or
not only increases your risk of pancreatic cancer, but may also reduce your chance of survival if you are ever diagnosed with this condition.
Talk to a registered dietitian about proper dieting and
regular exercise to lose weight. If these methods are not working, contact your doctor to discuss other options, including
It is well known that your chance of developing pancreatic cancer is increased if you have
diabetes. If you have a family history of diabetes or have other risk factors, such as being overweight, you should get regular blood sugar testing to detect
prediabetes. To prevent the condition from developing, you should control your weight with proper diet and exercise. Your doctor might consider using an antidiabetes drug if other options fail.
You have a higher-than-normal risk of developing pancreatic cancer if you work in the petroleum and dry-cleaning industries, or if your job entails the use of pesticides and dyes. If you must work in these industries, research how to best protect yourself from exposure to chemicals. Check with the
National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health
Environmental Protection Agency
about protective guidelines.
Discuss with your doctor or dietitian strategies to eat a
healthful diet, such as eating foods
low in saturated fat
and rich in
fruits and vegetables. You may also want to ask your doctor about taking
folate supplements. One study suggests a link between high folate intake and decreased risk of pancreatic cancer.
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Pancreatic cancer. American Cancer Society website. Available at:
http://www.cancer.org/acs/groups/cid/documents/webcontent/003131-pdf.pdf. Accessed September 8, 2016.
Pancreatic cancer. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at: http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T114527/Pancreatic-cancer. Updated July 6, 2016. Accessed October 6, 2016.
Pancreatic cancer. Merck Manual Professional Version website. Available at: http://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/gastrointestinal-disorders/tumors-of-the-gi-tract/pancreatic-cancer. Updated July 2014. Accessed September 8, 2016.
7/21/2009 DynaMed Plus Systematic Literature Surveillance
http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T114527/Pancreatic-cancer: Li D, Morris JS, Liu J, et al. Body mass index and risk, age of onset, and survival in patients with pancreatic cancer. JAMA. 2009;301(24):2553-2562.
4/9/2010 DynaMed Plus Systematic Literature Surveillance
http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T114527/Pancreatic-cancer: Oaks BM, Dodd KW, Meinhold CL, Jiao L, Church TR, Stolzenberg-Solomon RZ. Folate intake, post-folic acid grain fortification, and pancreatic cancer risk in the Prostate, Lung, Colorectal, and Ovarian Cancer Screening Trial. Am J Clin Nutr. 2010;91(2):449-55.
Last reviewed September 2016 by Mohei Abouzied, MD, FACP
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