There is no sure way to prevent pancreatic cancer. Some risk factors such as age, gender, race, and family history can’t be controlled. But there are things you can do that might lower your risk.
Smoking is the most important avoidable risk factor for pancreatic cancer. Quitting smoking helps lower risk. If you smoke and want help quitting, please talk to your health care provider or call us at 1-800-227-2345.
Processed and red meats and sugary drinks may also increase the risk of pancreatic cancer.
The American Cancer Society recommends following a healthy eating pattern that includes plenty of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, and that limits or avoids red and processed meats, sugary drinks, and highly processed foods. For more, see the American Cancer Society Guidelines for Diet and Physical Activity for Cancer Prevention.
Heavy alcohol use has been tied to pancreatic cancer in some studies. Heavy alcohol use can also lead to conditions such as chronic pancreatitis, which is known to increase pancreatic cancer risk. It’s best not to drink alcohol. If you do drink, you should have no more than 1 drink per day for women or 2 drinks per day for men.
Avoiding workplace exposure to certain chemicals may reduce your risk for pancreatic cancer.
Our team is made up of doctors and oncology certified nurses with deep knowledge of cancer care as well as journalists, editors, and translators with extensive experience in medical writing.
Last Revised: June 9, 2020