Causes of Pancreatic Cancer

The exact causes of pancreatic cancer are yet to be discovered. But, smoking can be one of the causes of pancreatic cancer.

The malignancy of the pancreas is termed as the pancreatic cancer.

This disease does not show any symptom in its early stages hence is described as the “silent” disease.

As the disease progresses the tumor blocks the common bile duct and bile cannot pass into the digestive system then at this stage the whites of the eye become yellow and the urine becomes darker due to accumulation of bile pigment the bilirubin. This condition is similar to jaundice.

The other pancreatic cancer symptoms which appear on the advancement of the disease are abdominal pain or discomfort. Itching, nausea and vomiting may be common symptoms.

The common symptoms which may be mistaken to be due to other less serious problems are digestive problems, fatigue, weight loss, loss of appetite and malnutrition.

The method of treatment opted for pancreatic cancer treatment depends on the stage of the disease. The staging is process by which a stage is assigned to the disease of the patient depending on the size of the tumor, location and the spread of the disease.

The pancreatic cancer has been distinguished into Stage0, I, II, III, IV and the recurrent type. The recurrent pancreatic cancer is cancer that has recurred or come back after it has been treated. The cancer may come back in the pancreas or in other parts of the body.

Most Common Causes of Pancreatic Cancer

The damage of DNA is responsible for the malignancy of cells, but the exact cause behind this damage or rather the causes of pancreatic cancer are unknown. In Majority of cases the causes of pancreatic cancer was not found.

However, a small percentage of people are known to develop this disease as a result of genetic predisposition. The risk of developing this disease is very high in people whose parents or sibling or a close relative have pancreatic cancer.

People with a family history of developing the colon, breast and skin cancer are at a high risk for this disease. Although the above mentioned causes of pancreatic cancer are evident only 10 percent of pancreatic cancers result from an inherited tendency.

The other causes of pancreatic cancer which are reported to be in majority of the cases are environmental or lifestyle factors, such as smoking, diet and chemical exposure as well.

Some of the causes of pancreatic cancer are listed below:

  • Age: With the increasing age the chances of developing the disease also increases tremendously. According to statistics the incidence of Pancreatic Cancer is relatively low in individuals up to age 50, after which it increases significantly. The age group 65 – 79 has the highest incidence of Pancreatic Cancer. Therefore age is also considered the risk factor for developing the disease.
  • Smoking increases the chances of developing Pancreatic Cancer. Study reveals that smokers develop Pancreatic Cancer more than twice as often as nonsmokers.
  • Non vegetarians have a high risk of getting Pancreatic Cancer. More consumption of meat and fatty foods boost the chance of developing the disease.
  • Medical factors are also found to increase the chance of getting the disease. For example the health disorder cirrhosis a condition in which the liver is affected and other ailments and disorders like chronic pancreatitis, diabetes and a history of surgery to the upper digestive tract also contribute to the risk
  • Environmental factors such as long-term exposure to certain chemicals, like gasoline and related compounds, as well as certain insecticides, may increase the risk of developing the disease.
  • Genetic predisposition should also be considered as the possible reason to increase the risk and one of the most probable causes of pancreatic cancer. Possibly 3% of cases of this disease are related to genetic disorders.