There are no definite causes of ancreatic cancer, but there are several identified risk factors that make a person susceptible for getting pancreatic cancer. The risk factors range from genetic predisposition to lifestyle habits.
Although there have been advancements in medical science, experts are still not able to tell the specific cause behind pancreatic cancer. However several studies have come up with the causes in the general population. It is important to understand cancer before getting in to the causes.
Cancer is uncontrolled growth of cells which destroy adjacent tissues and sometimes metastasize to the other organs of the body. There are some genes in our body that are responsible for promoting cell division. At the same time there are other genes that restrict the cells from dividing. If there is a problem in any one of these genes then we are prone to develop cancer.
Pancreatic cancer occurs when cells inside the pancreas grow uncontrollably and form tumors. These tumors hamper the basic functioning of the pancreas, namely producing digestive juices and hormones like insulin. Cancers which affect the production of the digestive juices are known as exocrine cancers and the one’s which affect hormone production are known as endocrine cancers. Some symptoms are jaundice, severe pain in the upper part of the abdomen and weight loss.
Genes that we inherit are one of the main causes, if there is a problem with oncogenes which promote cell division then it leaves us susceptible to cancer. Also if there is a problem with tumor suppressor genes which slow down cell division we might develop cancer. DNA mutations can play truant with the functioning of the genes and can cause cancer.
One of the risk factors that has been associated with developing pancreatic cancer is age. Most cancers are hard to detect at an early stage as there are no clear symptoms of cancer. Medical statistics have revealed that the percentage of people getting pancreatic cancer between the age of 60-80 is more than 80 percent. Going for regular medical checkup is one of the chances you have for early detection.
People who develop stomach ulcers are also at risk of getting pancreatic cancer. Bacteria in stomach ulcers are known to produce nitrosamines. These nitrosamines are one of the factors which contribute to the development of cancer. However this doesn’t mean that everyone with stomach ulcers gets cancer. It just means that these people are prone to developing cancer than people without this condition.
Although the reasons behind the connection between pancreatic cancer and obesity are not clear, studies have found that a high percentage of patients with pancreatic cancer were obese. It has been observed that people with diets low on vegetables and fruits tend to develop cancers. Similarly people who eat large quantities of red meat are also at risk of developing pancreatic cancer.
There are several studies that have linked cigarette smoke to cancer, it is said that cigarette smoke can damage the DNA. Researchers have indicated that cigarettes contain carcinogens which are known to cause different types of cancer. Carcinogens in cigarette smoke are believed to attack cancer related genes in pancreatic cells. Reports have indicated that a large percentage of people with pancreatic cancer were smokers.
One of the medical conditions that is known to cause cancer of the pancreas is chronic pancreatitis. People suffering from this long-term inflammation are at risk of developing pancreatic cancer. Pancreatitis can be caused due to inheriting faulty genes from the parents. Individuals who have a family history of pancreatitis are at risk of developing this condition. Excessive usage of alcohol is also one of the causes of pancreatitis.
Some of the other medical conditions that put you at risk of developing pancreatic cancer are diabetes and inflammatory bowel conditions. Pancreatic cancer affects more men than women as statistics have revealed 30 percent more men are affected by this disease than women.