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Understanding risk

The average person’s lifetime risk of developing pancreatic cancer is low, at just 1.6%, but both hereditary and lifestyle factors can increase risk. A family history of pancreatic cancer or known genetic mutations that predispose a person to develop pancreatic cancer can also increase risk.

BRCA2 mutations are the most common cause of familial pancreatic cancer (defined as 2 or more first-degree relatives with PDAC), with these mutations found in 5% to 10% of familial pancreatic cases. BRCA1 mutations are the second most common cause, found in approximately 1% of familial pancreatic cancer cases. The lifetime risk of developing pancreatic cancer in a BRCA2 mutation carrier is estimated to be 5% to 10%. Patients without a family history of pancreatic cancer can also be at increased risk for developing the disease.

Other factors, including some lifestyle behaviors, can impact a person’s risk as well.

If you are concerned about your risk of developing pancreatic cancer, start a conversation with your physician.


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