Is Pancreatic Cancer Genetic? | How To Prevent Pancreatic?

The pancreas cancer is a gland in the abdomen that makes enzymes for digestion and hormones that control your sugar levels in the blood.

A percentage of the genetic mutations involved in pancreatic cancer are inherited. Most are acquired.

Some other factors can increase your risk of developing pancreatic cancer. Can change some of these, but others cannot. Keep reading to learn more about pancreatic cancer.

I have already shared a post related to this topic What Is Acute Pancreatitis? I hope you read this post.

Pancreatic Cancer
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Table of Contents

Is pancreatic cancer genetic?

Smoking excessively raises the risk of pancreatic cancer. Excess obesity can also cause pancreatic cancer.

Consuming fatty foods and red meat increases the risk of pancreatic cancer. Pancreatic cancer also is genetic.

Causes of pancreatic cancer, and who’s at risk?

Can’t always identify the direct cause of pancreatic cancer.

Inherited genetic syndromes linked with this disease are:

  • ovarian cancer syndrome and hereditary breast, caused by BRCA1 and BRCA2 gene mutations
  • familial pancreatitis, normally due to mutations in the PRSS1 gene
  • ataxia-telangiectasia, produced by inherited mutations in the ATM gene
  • Li-Fraumeni syndrome, the result of a break in the p53 gene

“Familial pancreatic cancer” means it runs in the family where:

  • Two first-degree relatives (parent, child, or sibling) have had pancreatic cancer.
  • There are three or more siblings and relatives with pancreatic cancer on the same side of the family.
  • There’s a known family cancer syndrome plus one family member with pancreatic cancer.

Other risk factors include:

  • Age. More than 80% of pancreatic cancers develop in people between the ages of 70 and 80.
  • Gender. Men have a higher risk than women.
  • Race. African-Americans have a higher risk than Caucasians.

Lifestyle factors can increase the risk of pancreatic cancer. For example:

  • Smoking 
  • Obesity
  • Heavy exposure to chemicals 

I had earlier shared All About Ovarian Cancer. I hope you read the post.

Symptoms of pancreatic cancer

Many times, symptoms aren’t visible in the early stage of pancreatic cancer.

signs and symptoms may include:

  • Upper abdomen pain
  • Fatigue
  • Loss of appetite
  • Weight loss
  • Jaundice
  • New onset of diabetes
  • Depression

I also wrote a tutorial on Early Signs Of Endometrial Cancer that you can follow.

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When to see your doctor?

There’s no regular screening test for pancreatic cancer.

You are considered at increased risk if you have a family history of pancreatic cancer or chronic pancreatitis. Suppose that’s the case; your doctor order blood tests to screen for gene mutations associated with pancreatic cancer.

Whether you’re at high risk, abdominal weight loss and pain symptoms don’t mean that you have pancreatic cancer. These can be signs of many conditions, but it’s crucial to see your doctor for a diagnosis. Likewise, if you have symptoms of jaundice, see your physician as soon as possible.

To learn more, you can read my post: What Is Low Attenuation Liver?

What to expect from diagnosis?

Your doctor wants to take some medical history.

After a physical examination, diagnostic testing includes:

  • Imaging tests. Ultrasound, MRI, CT scans, and PET scans are used to create pictures to look for abnormalities of the pancreas and other internal organs.
  • Endoscopic ultrasound. In this test, a thin, endoscope flexible tube is passed down your esophagus and into the stomach to view your pancreas.
  • Biopsy. Your doctor injects a thin needle through your abdomen and inside the pancreas to get some sample of the suspicious tissue. A pathologist examines some samples under a microscope to determine whether the cells are cancerous.

Your doctor tests your blood for the tumor that are linked with pancreatic cancer. But this test isn’t a good diagnostic tool; it’s used to evaluate how well the treatment works.


Screening for pancreatic cancer is reserved for specific cases. According to ACS, the first step involve genetic testing because of a family history of the disease. Then, if you have a higher risk for pancreatic cancer, 2common tests—an endoscopic ultrasound or MRI —may be used to screen for pancreatic cancer.

What happens next?

After diagnosis, cancer needs to be staged according to how far it has grown. For example, pancreatic cancer is staged from 0 to 4, with four being advanced. This helps to manage your treatment options, which include surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation therapy.

For treatment plans, can stage pancreatic cancer as:

  • Resectable. It seems that it can remove the tumor in its entirety.
  • Borderline resectable. Cancer has reached blood vessels, but it’s possible that the doctor can completely remove it.
  • Unresectable. Can’t completely remove it in surgery.

The doctor will consider your complete medical profile to help decide on the best treatments for you.


Receiving a diagnosis of pancreatic cancer can improve the risk, but this is impossible as many people do not experience symptoms for a few days.

People who have a higher risk of pancreatic cancer may wish to talk with the doctor about their tests. No screening guidelines for this cancer, but a doctor may advise you with a family history of the condition on genetic and other types of testing.

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