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Factors that affect pancreatic cancer risk

Every person is at risk for pancreatic cancer and the risk increases with age. A person in the general population has about a 1 percent  lifetime risk of developing pancreatic cancer. This means that 1 out of every 100 people will get pancreatic cancer in their lifetime. 

Genes linked to pancreatic cancer risk 

Inherited mutations in the following genes have been linked to an increased risk for pancreatic cancer, (click on the gene to learn more about the pancreatic cancer risk associated for each):

 Note: Studies linking the  genes , and to pancreatic cancer have not been conclusive.

Inherited mutations in the following genes are linked to endocrine pancreatic cancer risk:

  • CDKN1B
  • MEN1
  • RET
  • VHL

Other factors linked to pancreatic cancer risk

Factors such as diet, weight, exercise, smoking, alcohol consumption, and type 2 diabetes can affect pancreatic cancer risk in the general population. More research is needed to understand how much these factors influence risk in people with inherited mutations.

Last updated December 21, 2022

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  • Ask your gastroenterologist how many patients with your mutation they care for, and what screening guidelines they follow. If your gastroenterologist is not part of an established high-risk cancer prevention program, you may also ask whether they have any connections to research registries or other research studies for patients like you.
  • The National Cancer Institute (NCI)-designated comprehensive cancer centers deliver cutting-edge cancer care to patients in communities across the United States. Most centers have specialized screening and prevention centers for high risk people. Find a center near you and learn about its specific research capabilities, programs, and initiatives.
  • Register for the FORCE Message Boards to get referrals from other members. Once you register, you can post on the Find a Specialist board to connect with other people who share your situation.