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What causes pancreatic cancer?

Pancreatic cancer is cancer that develops within the pancreas, the gland about six inches long that is responsible for making hormones, including the enzymes responsible for the digestion of food and control of blood sugar. The risk factors for pancreatic cancer include smoking, having diabetes, being obese, being over the age of 65, having chronic inflammation of the pancreas or a family history of pancreatic cancer.

Like many cancers, the exact cause of pancreatic cancer is unknown. Cancer cells are the result of mutations in the cells. These mutations make the cells grow and reproduce too quickly, causing them to build up in the tissues. When cancer cells form in your pancreas, a tumor may grow. This tumor can damage the pancreas, and the cancer can spread to other parts of the body. The stage of pancreatic cancer is based on the size of the tumor and where the cancer has spread.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.