Pancreatic Cancer and Genetics

OncoLink
Last Modified: May 8, 2012

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Question

My mother recently passed away at the age of 49 after a 4-week battle with pancreatic cancer. I have read that certain types of pancreatic cancer can be genetic. What should my family watch out for?

Ursina Teitelbaum, MD, Medical Oncologist at Penn Medicine responds:

There are familial cancer syndromes that can increase one's risk of cancer, including pancreatic cancer. It is hard to say in this particular case but I think important to find out the rest of your mother's family history, especially other family members with breast, pancreas or other GI cancers. You might ask her oncologist or your internist if you should be referred for specialized cancer risk assessment to find out if you or your siblings have increased risk.

This question and answer was part of the OncoLink Brown Bag Chat Series. View the entire transcript from the Focus on Pancreatic Cancer Webchat.