Pancreatic Cancer Risk Factors

Non-Modifiable Risk Factors:

  • Age

  • Gender

  • Race/Ethnicity

  • Family History/Inherited Genetic Syndromes

  • Workplace Exposures

Modifiable Risk Factors:

  • Tobacco Use

  • Diet

  • Obesity

  • Diabetes

Risk factors are defined as any attribute, characteristic, or exposure of an individual that increases their chance of developing a disease, such as cancer. The non-modifiable risk factors above are associations research studies have identified, but the risk is unchangeable. The modifiable risk factors above are things we can change to reduce our risk of developing pancreatic cancer. Just because an individual has multiple risk factors does not guarantee they will develop cancer, just as some patients who have few to none of the identified risk factors may go on to develop pancreatic cancer. More research is needed to determine the exact causes of pancreatic cancer.

The Pancreatic Cancer Action Network has an easy online Risk Assessment Test (available here: Several national organizations also have Familial Registries. If you have any risk factors for pancreatic cancer, please speak with your family physician or ask to be referred to a genetic counselor. It could save your life. 


Related Pages:

For more information please visit:

The North Carolina

Pancreas Foundation