What causes pancreatic cancer?
The cause of pancreatic cancer is unknown. Pancreatic cancer occurs when cells in the pancreas develop changes (mutations) in their deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA). The mutated abnormal cells grow uncontrollably, take over the growth of healthy cells and eventually forming a tumor. They erose the pancreas and spread to the nearby organs.
Risk factors of pancreatic cancer
Factors that increase the risk of pancreatic cancer include
- Diet high in red meat and fat
- Diet low in fruits and vegetables
- Chronic inflammation of the pancreas (pancreatitis)
- Family history of pancreatic cancer
- Hereditary conditions, such as BRCA2 gene mutation, Lynch syndrome, hereditary breast and ovarian cancer syndrome, multiple endocrine neoplasia type 1 (MEN1) syndrome, von Hippel-Lindau syndrome, Peutz-Jeghers syndrome, familial atypical multiple mole melanoma (FAMMM) syndrome and ataxia-telangiectasia
- Lack of exercise
- Aged older than 60 years
- Male gender
- Exposure to pesticides, dyes and chemicals used in metal refining
- Cirrhosis of the liver
- Infection of the stomach by Helicobacter pylori