Genetics as a risk factor

Genetics and pancreatic cancer

Most cases of pancreatic cancer are not inherited, and the cause is unknown. However, there are some genetic conditions and family traits which can give you a higher chance of getting the disease. Genetics are non-modifiable, you cannot change the genes you inherit. However, you can manage your risk once you are aware of it. 

What are genes?

Genes are sections of DNA inherited from our parents. Everyone has two copies of each gene, one from their father and one from their mother. Everyone is different and small differences in our genes create the differences seen between people. 

Genes act as a code to every process in the body. We have hundreds of thousands of genes, each with their own function. If genes are not functional in some way (mutated) cells can grow out of control and cause cancer. If these genes are passed onto children, they have an increased chance of developing cancer. 

If a close relative has had pancreatic cancer or you have any of the inherited conditions below, you can discuss your risk with your doctor.