Is Pancreatic Cancer Inherited?


The majority of pancreas cancer cases are not associated with hereditary factors. Most cases are sporadic, meaning that there is not a specific known risk factor and its occurrence is not always predictable.

In some families, we may see pancreas cancer among relatives who have been diagnosed with other types of cancer such as breast, ovarian, melanoma, or colorectal cancer. Depending on the family history, these combinations of cancers can sometimes be associated with known hereditary forms of cancer for which genetic testing may be available.

In some families, we see a clustering of pancreas cancer. More than one diagnosis of pancreas cancer in a family can occur just by chance. Studies indicate that, in some families, there is likely to be a hereditary form of pancreas cancer. Our team is involved in finding new genes that cause hereditary pancreatic cancer.

If you are concerned about your family history, please discuss this with your physician who can refer you to a cancer genetics centre in your area for more information.