The medical community doesn’t quite know what causes pancreatic cancer. They theorize that due to a mutation in a person’s DNA, the body gets distorted instructions on how to deal with normal chemical processes of the body. These instructions result in creation of tumors, cells which despite being a part of the body’s tissues, are actually harmful, both to the surrounding area and to the body in general. There are also additional causes of pancreatic cancer that are theorized… causes that may make DNA more likely to mutate in such a way. These specific causes are described in more detail below.
Studies have shown that smoking is a potential pancreatic cancer cause. This is because smokers are two to three times more likely to develop pancreatic cancer than non-smokers. Why could this be? Well, smoking increases the number of free radicals that are in the body. These are by-products that can cause harm if not taken care of. Normally, the immune system can suppress free radicals, but smoking (along with other unhealthy behaviors), can inhibit things. So, it’s best that a person stops smoking, if they are looking to eliminate this potential pancreatic cancer cause.
Race & Gender
African American men are more likely to get pancreatic cancer than anyone else, with African American women being the second contenders. Additionally, men in general tend to be more likely to develop the condition than women. Granted, no one can do anything about these potential pancreatic cancer causes, but if they know they are in a higher risk group, perhaps they can become more apt to live a lifestyle that could reduce their risks, despite already being more prone to get it.
Bad diet is a potential pancreatic cancer cause for a variety of reasons. First, a bad diet could deprive a person of nutrients that are more likely to fight early-forming cancer cells. Secondly, fatty foods are hard on the digestive system. The pancreas could respond by producing too many enzymes too quickly, in hopes of being able to break down the food. Such a process may make it more prone to over-exert itself, possibly making it weaker if abnormal cells do attack it.
Exposure to Chemicals
Petroleum-based chemicals have been shown to be a major pancreatic cancer cause. If a person works with a lot of gasoline, they may want to strongly consider looking for another line of employment, especially if they possess some of the other risk factors associated with pancreatic cancer.
Another potential pancreatic cancer cause is in the area of genetics. Individuals who have had pancreatic cancer in their family, regardless of the relation, are more likely to develop the condition than those that do not have the disease in their family tree.
Previous Pancreatic Conditions
Some conditions result in a pancreas that was weaker to begin with. An example is hereditary pancreatitis. What is hereditary pancreatitis? It is a relatively rare disease in which the pancreas becomes inflamed. It does not have the mortality that is infamous to pancreatic cancer, but its presence has shown to be a potential factor in future development of the disease.