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NCCN Guidelines for Patients



Pancreatic Cancer, Version 1.2017


About pancreatic cancer

Pancreatic cancer

Pancreatic cancer

Genetic testing is recommended for people

diagnosed with pancreatic at a young age (younger

than 50 years), who have a family history of

pancreatic cancer, or are of Ashkenazi Jewish

decent. This testing will help doctors learn if there

is an inherited genetic mutation. If so, other family

members may consider genetic testing. Some

cancer-related syndromes that increase the risk for

pancreatic cancer include:



Peutz-Jeghers syndrome



Melanoma-pancreatic cancer syndrome



Lynch syndrome



Hereditary breast-ovarian cancer syndrome



Familial pancreatic cancer and pancreatitis

These syndromes may also put someone at risk for

other types of cancer. Share what you know about

your family history with your doctor. Ask questions

about your risk for cancer.

Having more than one first-degree relative (parent,

brother, sister, or child) with pancreatic cancer

increases your risk. About 10 out of 100 people

diagnosed with pancreatic cancer have some family

history of this cancer. When it comes to new patients,

NCCN experts recommend that doctors discuss

family history of cancer. For someone with pancreatic

cancer, this includes talking about a personal or

family history of melanoma, pancreatic, colon,

rectum, breast, and/or ovarian cancer.

Guide 1. Risk Factors

Risk Factors

• Tobacco smoking

• Alcohol use

• Contact with certain chemicals and heavy

metals (eg, pesticides and asbestos)

• High BMI (






ndex –

body fat and


• Diet (eg, eating a lot of red or processed meats)

• History of diabetes

• Chronic pancreatitis

• Family history of pancreatic cancer

Doctors are not completely sure what causes

pancreatic cancer, but there are some risk factors to

be aware of for this cancer. Some of the risk factors


Guide 1

carry a low risk for development of

pancreatic cancer. For example, smoking is a known

risk factor that increases the chance for pancreatic

cancer to a small degree. Scientific data (from clinical

trials) may show a link to cancer, but may not be

clear or enough to make it a known risk factor. Thus,

doctors continue to study the cause of pancreatic


It is helpful to ask your doctor or nurse to explain the

risk factors for pancreatic cancer that might apply

to you. He or she will consider your lifestyle, health

history, and your family’s health history.