What is the role of smoking in the etiology of pancreatic cancer?

Updated: Oct 02, 2020
  • Author: Tomislav Dragovich, MD, PhD; Chief Editor: N Joseph Espat, MD, MS, FACS  more...
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Smoking is the most common environmental risk factor for pancreatic carcinoma. Estimates indicate that smoking accounts for up to 30% of cases of pancreatic cancer.

People who smoke have at least a 2-fold greater risk for pancreatic cancer than do nonsmokers. Current smokers with over a 40 pack-year history of smoking may have up to a 5-fold risk greater risk for the disease. Smokeless tobacco also increases the risk of pancreatic cancer.

It takes 5-10 years of discontinued smoking to reduce the increased risk of smoking to approximately that of nonsmokers.

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