With many different cancers, it is hard to know about the risk factors and causes for all. Pancreatic cancer is when the cell growth is uncontrollable in the pancreas. By reading the article below, you can learn more about the causes, risks and preventative measures you can take that might help you avoid pancreatic cancer.
Causes and Risk Factors
Scientists do not know exactly why uncontrolled cell growth happens in the pancreas, but they have identified some possible risk factors.
Damage or changes in a person’s DNA can lead to damage in the genes that control cell division. Hereditary genetic changes pass down through a family. There is evidence that pancreatic cancer can run in families. Other genetic changes happen because of exposure to an environmental trigger, for example, tobacco. A person with certain genetic syndromes is more likely to develop pancreatic cancer.
- hereditary breast and ovarian cancer syndrome
- non-polyposis colorectal cancer (Lynch syndrome)
Pancreatic cancers affect men than often than women. This year, the American Cancer Society expect that 29,200 men and 26,240 women will receive a diagnosis of pancreatic cancer.
Exposure to pesticides can increase the risk of various diseases, and pancreatic cancer may be one of these. Substances that may increase the risk of pancreatic cancer include certain:
- chemicals used in metal refining
When the body comes into contact with a carcinogen, free radicals form. These damage cells and affect their ability to function normally. The result can be cancerous growths.
Other medical factors
Age is an important risk factor, especially after the age of 60 years. Scientists have also found a link between cancer of the pancreas and several other diseases.
- cirrhosis or scarring of the liver
- infection of the stomach with the ulcer-causing bacteria, Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori)
- diabetes mellitus
- chronic pancreatitis, or inflammation of the pancreas
- gingivitis or periodontal disease
Some lifestyle factors may increase the risk:
- smoking cigarettes or exposure to tobacco smoke
- excess weight and a lack of exercise
- a diet that is high in red meat and fat and low in fruits and vegetables
- long-term, heavy consumption of alcohol, which can lead to chronic pancreatitis, a risk factor for pancreatic cancer
A healthful diet, exercise, and avoiding smoking can all help prevent pancreatic cancer and many other diseases. There is no specific way to prevent pancreatic cancer, according to the American Cancer Society. However, avoiding certain activities may reduce the risk.
- quitting smoking
- keeping a healthy weight
- eating plenty of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains
- consuming less red meat
Can vitamin supplements help?
Scientists have looked at the impact certain vitamins might have on the risk of pancreatic cancer. Studies have linked vitamin D with a lower risk of several types of cancer, including pancreatic cancer. However, scientists still need to carry out large research studies to confirm whether or not vitamin D can help prevent pancreatic diseases. Consuming B vitamins such as B12, B6, and folate in food — but not in pill or tablet form — may reduce the risk of pancreatic cancer. A meta-analysis published in Medicine in 2018 supported the use of vitamin D and also proposed that vitamin B12 could be beneficial.