Age: risk factor of pancreatic cancer

Age is a non-modifiable risk factor. Meaning you cannot make changes to avoid it.

Why is your age relevant to pancreatic cancer?

The likelihood of getting pancreatic cancer increases with age. The average age of diagnosis of pancreatic cancer is 72. However younger people are still at risk.

As we age our immune system declines. This puts us at greater risk for infections and increases our risk for disease and cancer.

The way our cells grow, and divide is controlled by our genes (DNA). With age, our DNA can become damaged, which increases our risk for cancer. DNA is damaged by environmental (ie radiation) and lifestyle factors (ie smoking).  Our immunity also decreases due to biological reasons. Cells that help fight infection and regulate how are cells grow, reproduce and die also decrease as we age, increasing our risk of cancers.

What can I do?

You cannot stop getting older, but you can have control of the lifestyle risks you expose yourself to. For example: not smoking; maintaining a healthy diet and weight; and drinking less alcohol.

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Information Product № Published 15/10/2019
Last Updated 07/06/2021 Next Review Due 15/10/2022