Can Pancreatic Cancer Be Prevented?

Pancreatic cancer is a form of cancer that develops within the pancreas. Common symptoms include lethargy and tiredness, fever, jaundice, darker urine, loss of appetite and unexplained weight loss, although it’s important to note that these symptoms can also occur from other diseases.

Pancreatic cancer is usually rather rare, however, it’s also deadly, especially if it’s diagnosed late. If you have any of the symptoms listed above, it’s advised that you seek medical attention as soon as possible.

Causes of pancreatic cancer

Like many other cancers, the causes of pancreatic cancer are not always obvious, as it potentially can arise at any time, affecting anyone. Occasionally, pancreatic cancer can be secondary cancer, if cancer from another part of the body has spread over the course of time. Genetic factors can sometimes come into play, with an increased risk of pancreatic cancer present for those who have a family history of the disease.

Other risk factors for pancreatic cancer include lifestyle factors such as obesity, smoking and alcohol abuse. Those over the age of 75 are more at risk, however, pancreatic cancer can affect people of any age. Other things which can raise the chance of getting pancreatic cancer are pancreatitis, diabetes and genetic syndromes and disorders, such as Lynch Syndrome.

However, the development of pancreatic cancer is often a random event. Cancer is caused by random mutations within cells, causing them to grow exponentially, eventually developing into a tumour. This is something that cannot be prevented – the cells within the human body are constantly in the process of dying and being replaced, as part of the natural course of ageing.

Can pancreatic cancer be prevented?

There is no way to completely prevent pancreatic cancer from occurring – even the most healthy person could still develop it at some point in their life. However, there are some ways in which the risk of pancreatic cancer can be minimised. Leading a healthy lifestyle is a good idea – quitting smoking, eating healthily, losing excess weight or cutting your alcohol consumption down can reduce the risk of pancreatic cancer greatly, as well as most other cancers.

If you have a family history of cancer, are over the age of 75 or have a genetic syndrome which makes you more likely to get cancer in your lifetime, then it’s worth getting checked regularly. Whilst pancreatic cancer cannot be prevented, it can be treated if caught in time with treatment options including surgical intervention to remove tumours.