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Having relatives with pancreatic cancer leads to increased risk

Category: Cancer Detection and Tumor Markers

According to a recent study, people who have multiple family members with pancreatic cancer have a significantly higher risk of developing the disease themselves.

Researchers at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine found that respondents who were related to more than one pancreatic cancer sufferer had a six-fold greater chance than the general public of being diagnosed with the disease at some point in their life. The risk increases to nine-fold if at least one relative was under the age of 50 when they developed cancer.

"These data should help to further inform risk assessment and subsequent early detection screening of individuals at high risk of developing pancreatic cancer," said the authors.

In contrast, individuals with only one relative with pancreatic cancer were only twice as likely to develop the disease.

Researchers found that the risk of developing cancer increased with every positively diagnosed relative. Risk also increased as the age of the youngest family member decreased.

Doctors urge that people with a history of cancer speak to their physician and get annual screenings.

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