Pancreatic cancer risk

Preventable cases

Pancreatic cancer cases are preventable, UK, 2015

 

Caused by smoking

Pancreatic cancer cases caused by smoking, UK, 2015

 

Caused by obesity

Pancreatic cancer cases caused by overweight and obesity, UK, 2015

 

The estimated lifetime risk of being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer is 1 in 53 (2%) for males, and 1 in 57 (2%) for females born after 1960 in the UK.[1]

These figures have been calculated on the assumption that the possibility of having more than one diagnosis of pancreatic cancer over the course of a lifetime is very low (‘Current Probability’ method).[2]

References

  1. Lifetime risk estimates calculated by the Statistical Information Team at Cancer Research UK. Based on Office for National Statistics (ONS) 2016-based Life expectancies and population projections. Accessed December 2017, and Smittenaar CR, Petersen KA, Stewart K, Moitt N. Cancer Incidence and Mortality Projections in the UK Until 2035. Brit J Cancer 2016. 
  2. Esteve J, Benhamou E and Raymond L. Descriptive epidemiology. IARC Scientific Publications No.128, Lyon, International Agency for Research on Cancer, pp 67-68 1994. 

About this data

Data is for UK, past and projected cancer incidence and mortality and all-cause mortality rates for those born in 1961, ICD-10 C25.

The calculations used past and projected cancer incidence and mortality and all-cause mortality rates for those born in 1961 to project risk over the lifetime of those born in 1961 (cohort method).[1] Projections are based on observed incidence and mortality rates and therefore implicitly include changes in cancer risk factors, diagnosis and treatment.

Last reviewed:

31% of pancreatic cancer cases in the UK are preventable.[1]

Pancreatic cancer is associated with a number of risk factors.[2-4]

Pancreatic Cancer Risk Factors

  Increases risk Decreases risk
'Sufficient' or 'convincing' evidence
  • Tobacco smoking
  • Smokeless tobacco
  • Body fatness
 
'Limited' or 'probable' evidence
  • Alcoholic drinks
  • Thorium-232 and its decay products
  • X-radiation, gamma-radiation
  • Red meat
  • Adult attained height
 

International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) and World Cancer Research Fund/American Institute for Cancer Research (WCRF/AICR) classifications.

See also

Want to generate bespoke preventable cancers stats statements? Download our interactive statement generator.

Find out more about the definitions and evidence for this data

Learn how attributable risk is calculated

References

  1. Brown KF, Rumgay H, Dunlop C, et al. The fraction of cancer attributable to known risk factors in England, Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland, and the UK overall in 2015. British Journal of Cancer 2018.
  2. International Agency for Research on Cancer. List of Classifications by cancer sites with sufficient or limited evidence in humans, Volumes 1 to 122*. Accessed October 2018.
  3. Lauby-Secretan B, Scoccianti C, Loomis D, et al. Body Fatness and Cancer--Viewpoint of the IARC Working Group. N Engl J Med. 2016 Aug 25;375(8):794-8
  4. World Cancer Research Fund / American Institute for Cancer Research. Continuous Update Project Findings & Reports. Accessed October 2018.
Last reviewed:

International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) classifies the role of this risk factor in cancer development.[1] 22% of pancreatic cancer cases in the UK are caused by smoking.[2]

Smoking

Pancreatic cancer risk is 2.2 times higher in current smokers compared with never-smokers, a pooled analysis showed.[3] Risk increases with the number of cigarettes smoked per day, and duration of cigarette smoking, meta- and pooled analyses have shown.[3,4]

Pancreatic cancer risk is increased to a similar extent in people who smoke cigars only and people who smoke cigarettes only, a pooled analysis showed.[5] Pancreatic cancer risk is not associated with pipe-only smoking.[5]

Stopping smoking

Pancreatic cancer risk in those who quit smoking 20 years ago is similar to that of never-smokers, a pooled analysis showed.[3]

Smokeless tobacco

Pancreatic cancer risk is around 80% higher among ever-users of snus, compared with snus never-users, a meta-analysis showed.[6] However, a pooled analysis showed the evidence is mixed.[7]

Pancreatic cancer risk is not associated with ever-use of smokeless tobacco overall, compared with never-use of any tobacco, a pooled analysis and systematic review have shown.[5,8]

 

UK portrait version shown here. Country versions, cancers caused by other risk factors, and landscape formats are available for free from our cancer risk publications.

References

  1. International Agency for Research on Cancer. List of Classifications by cancer sites with sufficient or limited evidence in humans, Volumes 1 to 122. Accessed October 2018.
  2. Brown KF, Rumgay H, Dunlop C, et al. The fraction of cancer attributable to known risk factors in England, Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland, and the UK overall in 2015. British Journal of Cancer 2018.
  3. Bosetti C, Lucenteforte E, Silverman DT, et al. Cigarette smoking and pancreatic cancer: an analysis from the International Pancreatic Cancer Case-Control Consortium (Panc4). Ann Oncol 2012;23(7):1880-8.
  4. Boffetta P, Hecht S, Gray N, et al. Smokeless tobacco and cancer. Lancet Oncol 2008;9 (7):667-75.
  5. Araghi M, Galanti MR, Lundberg M, et al. Use of moist oral snuff (snus) and pancreatic cancer: Pooled analysis of nine prospective observational studies. Int J Cancer. 2017 May 9. doi: 10.1002/ijc.30773.
  6. Burkey MD, Feirman S, Wang H, et al. The association between smokeless tobacco use and pancreatic adenocarcinoma: a systematic review. Cancer Epidemiol. 2014 Dec;38(6):647-53.
Last reviewed:

International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) and World Cancer Research Fund/American Institute for Cancer Research (WCRF/AICR) classify the role of this risk factor in cancer development.[1,2] 12% of pancreatic cancer cases in the UK are caused by overweight and obesity.[3]

Pancreatic cancer risk increases by 10% per 5-unit body mass index (BMI) increase, a meta-analysis showed.[4]

Pancreatic cancer risk increases by 11% per 10cm waist circumference increase, and by 19% per 0.1-unit waist-to-hip ratio increment, this meta-analysis showed.[4]

UK portrait version shown here. Country versions, cancers caused by other risk factors, and landscape formats are available for free from our cancer risk publications.

Last reviewed:

International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) classifies the role of this risk factor in cancer development.[1]

Pancreatic cancer risk is 20% higher in people who consume 50g+ (6+ units) of alcohol per day, compared with non- or occasional drinkers, a meta-analysis showed.[2] Pancreatic cancer risk is not associated with drinking less than 50g (6 units) of alcohol per day.[2]

Last reviewed:

Family history

Pancreatic cancer risk is 62-76% higher in people with a first-degree relative Open a glossary item with the disease, meta- and pooled analyses have shown.[1,2] Risk is higher in those with more first-degree relatives affected, or first-degree relatives diagnosed at a younger age.[3] Pancreatic cancer risk is 45% higher in people with a first-degree relative with prostate cancer, a pooled analysis showed.[1]

Genetic factors

Pancreatic cancer risk is higher in people with the following rare genetic conditions, compared with the general population:[3,4]

  • Peutz-Jeghers syndrome - more than 100 times higher risk
  • Familial atypical multiple mole melanoma syndrome (FAMMM) - 13-38 times higher risk
  • Lynch syndrome/hereditary non-polyposis colorectal cancer (HNPCC) - up to around 9 times higher risk (some evidence of no association)
  • BRCA2 mutation - 3.5 times higher risk
  • BRCA1 mutation - up to 2.3 times higher risk (some evidence of no association).

These genetic syndromes explain a small proportion of familial pancreatic cancer.[3,4]

Last reviewed:

Pancreatitis

Pancreatic cancer risk is almost threefold higher in people with chronic pancreatitis, compared with healthy controls Open a glossary item, a pooled analysis showed.[1] Pancreatic cancer risk is higher still shortly after pancreatitis diagnosis, probably because of increased investigative activity in this period and/or initial misdiagnosis of pancreatic cancer as pancreatitis.[1]

Pancreatic cancer risk is increased more than 50-fold in people with hereditary pancreatitis.[2]

Gallstones

Pancreatic cancer risk is 25% higher in people with gallstones (cholelithiasis) versus people without, a meta-analysis showed; gallstone disease and pancreatitis are often associated.[3] Pancreatic cancer risk may only be increased shortly after gallstones diagnosis, probably because of increased investigative activity in this period and/or gallstones being an early symptom of pancreatic cancer.[3]

Diabetes

Pancreatic cancer risk is around twice as high in diabetics compared with non-diabetics, meta-analyses have shown.[4,5] Diabetes may be a cause or an early manifestation of pancreatic cancer, and may vary by treatment type (which itself reflects diabetes severity).[4]

Pancreatic cancer risk may be lower in metformin users versus non-users,[6,7] however there may be no association,[8,9] meta-analyses have shown. Pancreatic cancer risk may be lower in insulin users versus non-users,[10] however there may be no association,[9] meta-analyses have shown; risk may only be increased with shorter-term insulin use.[11

Pancreatic cancer risk is higher in sulfonylureas users versus non-users,[9] and is not associated with thiazolidinediones use,[9,12] meta-analyses have shown. Pancreatic cancer risk is not associated with incretin-based therapy use, a meta-analysis showed;[13] however, risk may decrease with duration of incretin-based therapy of more than 2 years.[13]

Metabolic syndrome

Pancreatic cancer risk is 58% higher in women with metabolic syndrome (characterised by overweight/obesity, ineffective insulin use, diabetes and hypertension), compared with the general population, a meta-analysis showed.[14] Pancreatic cancer risk is not associated with metabolic syndrome in men.[14]

References

  1. Duell EJ, Lucenteforte E, Olson SH, et al. Pancreatitis and pancreatic cancer risk: a pooled analysis in the International Pancreatic Cancer Case-Control Consortium (PanC4). Ann Oncol 2012; 23(11):2964-70. doi: 10.1093/annonc/mds140.
  2. Haddad A, Kowdley GC, Pawlik TM, et al. Hereditary pancreatic and hepatobiliary cancers. Int J Surg Oncol. 2011;2011:154673
  3. Gong Y, Li S, Tang Y, et al. Cholelithiasis and risk of pancreatic cancer: systematic review and meta-analysis of 21 observational studies. Cancer Causes Control. 2014;25(11):1543-51.
  4. Ben Q, Xu M, Ning X, et al. Diabetes mellitus and risk of pancreatic cancer: A meta-analysis of cohort studies. Eur J Cancer. 2011 Sep;47(13):1928-37.
  5. Batabyal P, Vander Hoorn S, Christophi C, et al. Association of Diabetes Mellitus and Pancreatic Adenocarcinoma: A Meta-Analysis of 88 Studies. Ann Surg Oncol 2014.
  6. Shen M, Boffetta P, Olsen JH, et al. A pooled analysis of second primary pancreatic cancer. Am J Epidemiol 2006; 163(6):502-11.
  7. Gandini S, Puntoni M, Heckman-Stoddard BM, et al. Metformin and cancer risk and mortality: a systematic review and meta-analysis taking into account biases and confounders. Cancer Prev Res (Phila). 2014;7(9):867-85.
  8. Karlstad O, Starup-Linde J, Vestergaard P, et al. Use of insulin and insulin analogs and risk of cancer - systematic review and meta-analysis of observational studies. Curr Drug Saf.2013;8(5):333-48.
  9. Bosetti C, Rosato V, Buniato D, et al. Cancer risk for patients using thiazolidinediones for type 2 diabetes: a meta-analysis. Oncologist 2013;18(2):148-56.
  10. Esposito K, Chiodini P, Colao A, et al. Metabolic syndrome and risk of cancer: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Diabetes Care 2012;35(11):2402-11.

     

Last reviewed:

International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) classifies the role of this risk factor in cancer development.[1]

Pancreatic cancer risk is 29% higher per 120g/day red meat intake in men, a meta-analysis showed.[2] Pancreatic cancer risk is not associated with red meat intake in women.[2] This sex difference may reflect overall lower red meat consumption in women.[2]

Last reviewed:

Cancer stats explained

See information and explanations on terminology used for statistics and reporting of cancer, and the methods used to calculate some of our statistics.

Citation

You are welcome to reuse this Cancer Research UK content for your own work.
Credit us as authors by referencing Cancer Research UK as the primary source. Suggested styles are:

Web content: Cancer Research UK, full URL of the page, Accessed [month] [year].
Publications: Cancer Research UK ([year of publication]), Name of publication, Cancer Research UK.
Graphics (when reused unaltered): Credit: Cancer Research UK.
Graphics (when recreated with differences): Based on a graphic created by Cancer Research UK.

When Cancer Research UK material is used for commercial reasons, we encourage a donation to our life-saving research.
Send a cheque payable to Cancer Research UK to: Cancer Research UK, Angel Building, 407 St John Street, London, EC1V 4AD or

Donate online

Acknowledgements

We are grateful to the many organisations across the UK which collect, analyse, and share the data which we use, and to the patients and public who consent for their data to be used. Find out more about the sources which are essential for our statistics.

Rate this page:

Currently rated: 2.1 out of 5 based on 13 votes
Thank you!
We've recently made some changes to the site, tell us what you think