Aetiology

The cause of this disease is largely unknown. Smoking accounts for about 30% of the risk. Diets high in saturated fats may be important, but not the previously controversial factors such as alcohol and caffeine intake. Sporadic chronic pancreatitis is associated with a 5% lifetime risk. In hereditary pancreatitis there is an elevated 40-70-fold risk of pancreatic cancer. There is also increased risk in various familial cancer syndromes, for example:

♦ Peutz-Jeghers' syndrome

♦ von Hippel-Lindau disease

♦ Lynch II families

♦ Familial atypical multiple-mole melanoma (FAMMM)

♦ Breast and breast-ovarian cancer families

♦ Familial pancreatic cancer

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