Epidemiology and Prospects for Prevention of Pancreatic Cancer

  • Patrick Maisonneuve
  • Albert Lowenfels
Reference work entry


Pancreatic cancer, although infrequent, has a very poor prognosis, making it currently one of the fourth or fifth most common causes of cancer mortality in developed countries. Its incidence varies greatly across regions, which suggests that lifestyle factors play an important role in its etiology. Because pancreatic cancer is strongly age dependent, increasing population longevity and aging will lead to an increase of the global burden of pancreatic cancer in the coming decades. In fact, pancreatic cancer is anticipated to move from the fourth to the second leading cause of cancer death in the United States by 2020, despite stable age-specific and age-standardized incidence rates. The increase in pancreatic cancer incidence and mortality rates reported in some countries could be largely ascribed to improvement in the diagnosis and ascertainment of the disease, particularly in elderly subjects. The etiology of pancreatic cancer has been extensively studied and has been the subject of numerous meta-analyses and pooled analyses. Using a comprehensive strategy, one can retrieve more than 170 meta-analytical or pooled reports dealing with the association between more than 50 specific risk factors and pancreatic cancer risk. About two-thirds of the major risk factors associated with pancreatic cancer are potentially modifiable, affording a unique opportunity for preventing one of our deadliest cancers: Abstaining from smoking, limiting alcohol intake, adopting a healthy diet, rich in fruits and vegetables, limiting red meat consumption and being physically active in everyday life could reduce pancreas cancer risk by 30 percent.


Pancreatic cancer Epidemiology Time trends Etiology Risk factors Diagnostic practice Aging Preventable fraction Prevention 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Division of Epidemiology and BiostatisticsEuropean Institute of OncologyMilanItaly
  2. 2.Department of Surgery and Department of Community and Preventive MedicineNew York Medical CollegeValhallaUSA

Section editors and affiliations

  • Raul A. Urrutia
    • 1
  • Markus W. Büchler
    • 2
  • John Neoptolemos
    • 3
  1. 1.Mayo Clinic Cancer CenterMayo ClinicRochesterUSA
  2. 2.Department of General, Visceral and Transplantation SurgeryUniversity of HeidelbergHeidelbergGermany
  3. 3.Division of Surgery and OncologyUniversity of LiverpoolLiverpoolUK

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