Pancreatic Cancer Info

Causes of Pancreatic cancer

Pancreas is an organ which secretes insulin and is located in the lower abdomen below the stomach and adjacent to the duodenum, which is the upper part of the small intestine. Apart from secreting insulin the pancreatic cells perform other important metabolic functions.

Exocrine glands of the pancreas secrete enzymes which reach the duodenum through ducts and help in digestion of food. Insulin and other hormones are secreted by the endocrine glands.

There are many types of pancreatic cancers, but Intraductal papillary mucinous neoplasia (IPMN) is now being diagnosed more frequently than ever.

According to the experts it is difficult to tell the exact cause of pancreatic cancer, but some important factors revealed by cancer study can assist in understanding why it develops. The fundamental cause of this disease is DNA damage, and is either acquired genetically or one can get them with age.

Human body has 23 pair of genes. Each parent contributes 23 genes and in all we have 46 genes. In a pair it is possible that one copy carries the cancer causing factor, while the other one is completely healthy. In due course of time, as the body ages the healthy gene is damaged in one of the cells in the pancreas.

Now, this pancreatic cell has a pair of genes that can cause cancer. However, it does not mean that people who inherit cancer causing gene from their parents will get the disease, but certainly they are more at risk than others.

Smoking can damage a gene which is most likely to cause cancer when something goes wrong with it. The carcinogens present in cigarette smoke can damage the DNA and the cell may turn cancerous. Early age pancreatic cancers are attributed to smoking and people who quit smoking nullify their risk of getting pancreatic cancer.

Cancer of the pancreas is more common in men than women because the statistics tell that more men smoke cigarettes than women pancreatic cancer is also associated with age as more than 80% of the cancers are diagnosed in the age group of 60-80.

While smoking is the considered the most important factor to cause pancreatic cancer there are other causes too. People belonging to a particular race and religion may be more likely to get the disease because of their daily practices which may include genetic factors, food and even the socio economic conditions.

Chronic pancreatitis has also found to lead to cancer of pancreas. In pancreatitis, there is inflammation of the pancreas and over time it can lead to cancer. While diabetes is a major disease itself, it can even be a symptom of pancreatic cancer. People suffering from diabetes for a long time are at risk to get this type of cancer.

Obese individuals are at risk to get all types of lifestyle disorders, and pancreatic cancer is no exception in this case. People who are regulars at fast food corners or who have fried high cholesterol diet comprising of meat and carbohydrates can expect to get pancreatic cancer. These type of foods are rich in nitrosamines, which is known to cause pancreatic cancer.