Did You Know?

It is estimated that in 2016, 53,070 people in the United States will be diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, and 41,780 will die from the disease.

Pancreatic cancer is the 3rd leading cause of cancer-related death in the U.S., surpassing breast cancer.

Pancreatic cancer has the highest mortality rate of all major cancers. 93% of pancreatic cancer patients will die within five year of diagnosis and the 5-year survival rate is just 8%.

Pancreatic cancer is projected to move past colorectal cancer to become the second leading cause of cancer-related death in the U.S. around 2020.

When evaluating a patient’s cancer family history, consider pancreatic cancer as a possible red flag for a hereditary cancer syndrome.

Risk factors for pancreatic cancer include smoking, older age, diabetes, and a personal/family history of the disease.

Up to 10% of pancreatic cancer is caused by an inherited gene mutation.3

Gene mutations that increase the risk of pancreatic cancer include: BRCA1/2, STK11, CDKN2A, MLH1, MSH2, EPCAM, ATM, PALB2, MSH6, PMS2, TP53, CDK4, BMPR1A, and SMAD4.

The good news is that knowing a patient’s personal and family history of cancer may help you prevent or identify cancer at an earlier, more treatable stage.

Consider hereditary cancer testing if your patient has-4,5

  • A personal history of pancreatic cancer AND one of the following:

    • At least one first- or second-degree relative with breast cancer diagnosed ≤ 50 years of age
    • At least one first- or second-degree relative with ovarian cancer at any age
    • Ashkenazi Jewish Ancestry
    • At least two first- or second-degree relatives with breast, pancreatic, or aggressive prostate cancer at any age
    • Bilaterality of cancers
    • Ancestry
    • ≥ 5% risk of Lynch Syndrome on a mutation prediction model (MMRPro, PREMM [1,2,6] or MMRPredict)
  • No Personal History of Pancreatic Cancer BUT a family history of pancreatic cancer and first- or second-degree relative meeting the criteria listed above.

To screen your patients for hereditary cancer:

Download Family History Questionnaire

For additional information on testing guidelines and pancreatic cancer screening in high risk individuals:

View the Pancreatic Clinical Summary


  1. American Cancer Society. (http://www.cancer.org/cancer/pancreaticcancer/detailedguide/pancreatic-cancer-key-statistics) Accessed: 10/31/2016.
  2. Pancreatic Cancer Action Network: Pancreatic Cancer Facts 2016. (pancan.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/2016-GAA-PC-Facts.pdf) Accessed 10/31/2016.
  3. Grover S, et al. Hereditary Pancreatic Cancer. Gastroenterology. 2010; 139:1076-80
  4. NCCN Clinical Practice Guidelines in Oncology®: Genetic/Familial High-Risk Assessment: Breast and Ovarian. V 1.2017. Available at nccn.org.
  5. NCCN Clinical Practice Guidelines in Oncology® Genetic/Familial High-Risk Assessment: Colorectal. V 2.2016. Available at http://www.nccn.org

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