Pancreatic Cancer: It’s Personal


Pancreatic cancer comes with little warning, and the timeframe from diagnosis to death is often very short.

Early detection of pancreatic cancer is absolutely critical and increases survival rates for this deadly disease.

Those who have had a family member diagnosed with pancreatic cancer understand: it’s personal.

What can you do? It starts with knowing  your family and any genetic risks.


Beyond a family history of pancreatic cancer, there are other risk factors that may increase your risk. These include:

  • Chronic inflammation of the pancreas (pancreatitis)
  • Diabetes
  • Obesity
  • Smoking
  • Melanoma
  • Family history of genetic syndromes, including:
    • BRCA2 gene mutation
    • Lynch syndrome


While genetic factors can increase risk, anyone can be impacted. Signs and symptoms often don’t occur until the disease is advanced but see a doctor if you experience any of the following:

  • Pain in the upper abdomen that radiates to your back
  • Loss of appetite or unintended weight loss
  • Depression
  • New-onset diabetes
  • Blood clots
  • Fatigue
  • Jaundice — yellowing of your skin and the whites of your eyes


If your parents, grandparents, siblings or other family members have had pancreatic cancer, you may be at risk for the disease.

Talk to your loved ones right now if you're unfamiliar with the medical history of those in your family. Knowing your own risk for pancreatic cancer can start you on the path to early detection and a longer life.

Download our "Know Your Family" worksheet for questions to ask your parents and grandparents.


If there is a history of pancreatic cancer in multiple family members, meet with a genetic counselor to assess your level of risk.

Knowing if you are at high risk can help you and your doctor decide if you should have tests to try to detect pancreatic cancer, since detection of pancreatic cancer in its early stages impacts survival rates. Pancreatic cancer is treatable when caught early, but most patients are diagnosed too late.

Use the link below to locate a genetic counselor near you:

The Rolfe Pancreatic Cancer Foundation's mission is to serve as a catalyst for the early diagnosis and ultimate cure of pancreatic cancer.

Take it personally – learn about your family history and take steps toward early detection today. If you’d like further information, please contact