How to assess your risk of pancreatic cancer

pancreatic cancer
Credit: Alamy

Previously, it was thought that someone’s risk for pancreatic cancer was increased only if two or more family members were affected. But the most recent guidelines from the National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN) indicate an increased risk with one first-degree relative. This update pertains to pancreatic adenocarcinoma – the most common type of the disease.

What does this mean for you?

It’s important to know your family history of pancreatic and other cancer types. This information can help your doctor and genetic counselor determine whether you should have genetic testing for inherited risk.

It’s also important to know whether your loved one with pancreatic cancer has undergone genetic testing for inherited mutations.

PanCAN strongly recommends all pancreatic cancer patients get genetic testing for inherited mutations as soon as possible after diagnosis.

Related article:  Chasing the causes of pancreatic cancer. When can genetic testing offer answers?
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Here are some ways you can turn the knowledge of being at increased risk into power:

  • Be aware of your body and pay attention to any changes that may signify the presence of pancreatic cancer (learn more about symptoms to watch out for)
  • Contact PanCAN’s Patient Services or talk to your doctor or genetic counselor…
  • Take precautions – like quitting smoking and maintaining a healthy weight and lifestyle – to reduce your risk of developing pancreatic cancer

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