What Causes Pancreatic Cancer?

Pancreatic cancer causes are not yet well understood. Through extensive research studies, scientists have determined that pancreatic cancer forms when cells within the pancreas develop mutations in their DNA, or genetic information. These mutations cause the cells to grow uncontrollably or live longer than they should. The resulting overabundance of cells can amass and form a tumor. The most common type of pancreatic cancer is adenocarcinoma, which occurs in the exocrine cells that line the ducts of the pancreas.

Research on pancreatic cancer causes is still underway, and there is still much to be learned about the reasons for cellular DNA mutations. Some current theories focus on: 

  • Inherited gene characteristics – It is possible for an individual to inherit damaged DNA from one or both parents.
  • Pancreatic inflammation – Because individuals with chronic or hereditary pancreatitis or a history of alcoholism (all of which can cause pancreatic inflammation) tend to have a higher risk of developing pancreatic cancer, inflammation is believed to play a possible role in causing the underlying cellular mutations.
  • Environmental factors – Genes can mutate during a person’s lifetime due to environmental factors, such as exposure to radiation. 
  • Random cellular events – Transformations can occur within pancreatic cells and cause those cells to become cancerous for no apparent reason.

Moffitt Cancer Center continues to lead the way in researching pancreatic cancer causes, and we have received national recognition for our groundbreaking discoveries regarding various forms of cancer. The National Cancer Institute has designated Moffitt as a Comprehensive Cancer Center – the only one based in Florida. Through our highly focused efforts, we continue to transform all aspects of pancreatic cancer care, and we are able to provide our patients with access to innovative treatment options, including clinical trials, all in a single, convenient location. As a result, our Gastrointestinal Oncology Program boasts patient outcomes that outrank national averages, and our patients benefit from an enhanced quality of life.

If you would like to know more about pancreatic cancer causes, call 1-888-MOFFITT or request to schedule an appointment online. You do not need a referral to consult with the cancer experts at Moffitt.

 

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