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Individuals with PCOS are at 1.9-3.4x the risk of developing pancreatic cancer.[1],[2]  In this article we explore the link between PCOS and pancreatic cancer.

A clear linkage between PCOS and pancreatic cancer has not yet been established; current hypotheses include:

  • Excess deposits of fat within the pancreas (intrapancreatic fat deposition or IPFD);[3]

  • Shared risk factors including hyperinsulinemia, dyslipidemia, raised estrogen levels, chronic inflammation, and reduced apoptosis (programmed cell death);[4] and

  • Increased levels of sympathetic nerve activity.[5]

There are a variety of other risk factors for pancreatic cancer, including:[6]

  • Increasing age;

  • Ethnicity and gender (African Americans and men being at slightly higher risk);

  • Obesity and Type 2 diabetes;

  • Family history of pancreatic cancer;

  • Chronic pancreatitis, long-term inflammation of the pancreas;

  • Inherited genetic variants including BRCA1 and BRCA2, genetic variants also linked with increased ovarian cancer risk;

  • Genetic changes associated with Lynch syndrome, Ataxia telangiectasia (AT), familial atypical multiple mole melanoma (FAMMM) syndrome, Peutz-Jeghers syndrome and changes to genes PALB2 and PRSS1;

  • Dietary and lifestyle choices, including tobacco and alcohol use, level of consumption of red / processed meats and sugary drinks and physical inactivity; and

  • Infections such as Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) or Hepatitis B.

Reviewed by Dr. O, one of Neuraura’s friends and trusted advisors.


Want to learn more about cancer risks and PCOS?  Check out our articles on ovarian cancer, endometrial cancer and breast cancer.

Complications - Cancer

PCOS and Pancreatic Cancer

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