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Q.

What causes pancreatic cancer?

 

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A.

All cancers begin with a mutation in the DNA of one cell that causes the cell to grow and divide uncontrollably. Environmental factors cause the genetic mutations in most cases of pancreatic cancer. However, in about 5-10% of cases, the mutated DNA is passed from generation to generation; these mutations may lead to hereditary (familial) pancreatic cancer.

Studies have identified several risk factors that may increase the likelihood that an individual will develop pancreatic cancer. Risk factors include smoking, age, family history, chronic and hereditary pancreatitis, race, gender, long-standing diabetes and obesity.

For more information about these risk factors, contact the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network at 877.272.6226.

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