Hereditary Pancreatic Cancer
Mandy Kass, MS, CGC
Pancreatic cancer has quietly become the fourth leading cause of cancer death in men and women in the US. With about 56,000 adults in the US, every year being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, the overall awareness of this cancer type is on the rise. The specific cause of pancreatic cancer cannot always be identified, but as research continues, hereditary factors are beginning to emerge.
Most cases of pancreatic cancer occur sporadically, meaning they are not influenced by inherited genetic traits. However, more recently it has been determined that approximately 10-20% of pancreatic cancers are due to an inherited genetic mutation that causes an increased risk of pancreatic cancer. Because of this, recent guideline updates now recommend that all patients with a diagnosis of pancreatic cancer be considered for hereditary genetic testing to better inform risk.