Pancreatic cancer risk is higher in people who have diabetes. This risk is even higher in those who have had diabetes for more than 5 years. As well as being a risk factor, diabetes can be a symptom of pancreatic cancer.
A 2011 meta-analysis of cohort studies published in the European Journal of Cancer strongly supports that diabetes is associated with an increased risk of pancreatic cancer in both males and females. The study also considers diabetes as both an early manifestation and an etiologic factor of pancreatic cancer.
Diabetes also increases the risk of liver, endometrial, colorectal, breast and bladder cancer. Plus, common problems associated with diabetes, such as high insulin levels, high blood sugar levels and inflammation, also increase cancer risk.
8. High Alcohol Intake
There is also an association with heavy alcohol consumption and higher risk of pancreatic cancer. The risk may be even higher in people who smoke as well as drink heavily.
A 2012 study published in the Annals of Oncology notes that abstainers and occasional drinkers are not at an increased risk of pancreatic cancer, while there is a positive association between heavy alcohol consumption and pancreatic cancer risk.
A person is considered a heavy drinker if he or she drinks more than three glasses of any alcoholic drink a day.
9. Chronic Inflammation of the Pancreas (Pancreatitis)
Pancreatitis, which causes inflammation of the pancreas, can also increase the risk of this deadly cancer. Chronic pancreatitis is very common in people who drink a lot.
Several autoimmune disorders as well as hereditary factors can also cause pancreatitis. Symptoms of pancreatitis include inflammation of the pancreas, severe abdominal pain, and nausea and vomiting during the pain.
A 2012 study published in the Annals of Oncology notes that pancreatitis is a risk factor for pancreatic cancer and a relatively small proportion of this cancer might be avoided if pancreatitis could be prevented.
The risk may be higher for people who suffer from pancreatitis as well as smoke or have diabetes.
10. Unhealthy Diet
High intake of red meat (beef, lamb and pork) as well as processed meat (sausage, ham, bacon, salami and burgers) is another possible risk factor.
A 2012 finding from a meta-analysis published in the British Journal of Cancer notes that red meat and processed meat consumption is associated with pancreatic cancer risk. However, further studies are needed.
High intake of fried foods and nitrosamines-containing foods like cheese products and processed meat may also increase risk of developing this cancer.
Tips to Reduce Your Risk of Pancreatic Cancer
As experts are not sure exactly what causes cancer of the pancreas, there is no sure way to prevent it. However, there are some ways to reduce your risk of this disease. There are certain risk factors, such as smoking and unhealthy diet, that you can control.
1. Stop Smoking
Smoking is one of the most important avoidable risk factors. By quitting smoking, you can lower your risk of developing this cancer to a great extent.
To quit smoking, you can get help from support groups, medications and nicotine-replacement therapy. Ask your doctor to help you quit smoking.
2. Maintain a Healthy Weight
If you are overweight, take steps to lose weight. Opt for a slow and steady weight-loss goal and be realistic. A weight-loss program that includes daily exercise, a healthy diet, smaller portions and sound sleep can help you lose weight. You can always get help from experts to develop a realistic plan to achieve your goal.
Those having healthy weight should work hard to maintain it.