PDFs by language
Our 24/7 cancer helpline provides support for people dealing with cancer. We can connect you with trained cancer information specialists who will answer questions about a cancer diagnosis and provide guidance and a compassionate ear.
Chat live online
Select the Live Chat button at the bottom of the page
At our National Cancer Information Center trained Cancer Information Specialists can answer questions 24 hours a day, every day of the year to empower you with accurate, up-to-date information to help you make educated health decisions. We connect patients, caregivers, and family members with valuable services and resources.
Or ask us how you can get involved and support the fight against cancer. Some of the topics we can assist with include:
For medical questions, we encourage you to review our information with your doctor.
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.
Getting to and staying at a healthy weight might help lower your risk. Getting regular physical activity can help you stay at a healthy weight and may also reduce your risk of pancreatic cancer risk.
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.
The American Cancer Society medical and editorial content team
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.
Beavers TB, Brown PH, Maresso KC, Hawk ET. Chapter 23: Cancer Prevention, Screening, and Early Detection. In: Niederhuber JE, Armitage JO, Dorshow JH, Kastan MB, Tepper JE, eds. Abeloff’s Clinical Oncology. 5th ed. Philadelphia, Pa. Elsevier: 2014.
Fernandez-del Castillo C and Jimenez RE. Epidemiology and nonfamilial risk factors for exocrine pancreatic cancer. UpToDate website. https://www.uptodate.com/contents/epidemiology-and-nonfamilial-risk-factors-for-exocrine-pancreatic-cancer. Updated May 14, 2018. Accessed January 2, 2019.
Rock CL, Thomson C, Gansler T, et al. American Cancer Society guideline for diet and physical activity for cancer prevention. CA: A Cancer Journal for Clinicians. 2020;70(4). doi:10.3322/caac.21591. Accessed at https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.3322/caac.21591 on June 9, 2020.
Winter JM, Brody JR, Abrams RA, Posey JA, Yeo CJ. Chapter 55: Cancer of the Pancreas. In: DeVita VT, Lawrence TS, Rosenberg SA, eds. DeVita, Hellman, and Rosenberg’s Cancer: Principles and Practice of Oncology. 11th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins; 2019.
Last Revised: June 9, 2020
American Cancer Society medical information is copyrighted material. For reprint requests, please see our Content Usage Policy.