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How to reduce your risk of pancreatic cancer

Pancreatic cancer is one of the deadliest forms of the disease, mostly because its symptoms only manifest themselves at an advanced stage. However, if you're concerned about contracting it because a close family member has had it (which increases the chances of your getting it by about 7%), there are steps which you can take to minimise your risks.

Don't smoke
As with many other cancers, smoking is known to be a major risk factor for pancreatic cancer. University of Michigan researchers reported that the chemicals produced by the burning of tobacco products interfere with communication between the body's cells. Some of these chemicals don't initiate the cancer but instead help to promote it and the findings were found to be pertinent to the development of pancreatic cancer. Diabetes
Diabetes, which occurs when the body can't produce (or produces insufficient amounts) insulin, has been linked to pancreatic cancer although there is some doubt as to whether diabetes causes pancreatic cancer or vice versa. Although it's impossible to avoid contracting diabetes as genetics also play a role, the best way to reduce your risk is to monitor your diet and weight, and exercise three times a week. Pancreatitis
Found in about 15% of people who drink alcohol excessively, pancreatitis is a risk factor for pancreatic cancer, and is characterised by moderate to severe pain in the upper abdomen. However, research appears to show that the greatest risk is only among people who have a family history of chronic pancreatitis. Watch your diet
Eating less red meat, more fruit and vegetables and avoiding fructose (the common soft drink sweetener) may reduce your risks of contracting pancreatic cancer. US researchers at the University of California Los Angeles discovered that pancreatic tumour cells depend on fructose to divide and proliferate.

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