Family cancer syndromes
These rare genetic conditions can increase the risk of pancreatic cancer.
This causes lots of non-cancerous growths (polyps) in the digestive system, and dark spots on the hands and face. Nine out of ten cases (90%) are caused by a fault in a gene called STK11. This condition mainly increases the risk of bowel and breast cancer, but may also increase the risk of pancreatic cancer.
Faults in the BRCA2 and BRCA1 genes
Both men and women can have faults in the BRCA2 and BRCA1 genes. Faults in these genes greatly increase the risk of breast and ovarian cancer. They also increase the risk of other cancers, including prostate and skin cancer (melanoma).
A fault in the BRCA2 gene slightly increases the risk of pancreatic cancer. There’s less evidence that a fault in the BRCA1 gene increases the risk of pancreatic cancer. The NICE guidelines for pancreatic cancer recommend monitoring for pancreatic cancer if you have a fault in BRAC2 or BRCA1 and one or more first-degree relatives with pancreatic cancer.
Most breast, ovarian, prostate, skin and pancreatic cancers aren’t caused by faults in BRCA2 or BRCA1. So if someone in your family has one of these cancers, it doesn’t mean you have a higher risk of developing one of them.
BRCA Umbrella has an online forum for people with a fault in a BRCA gene.
Faults in the PALB2 gene
PALB2 is a gene linked to the BRCA2 gene. A fault in this gene increases the risk of breast cancer and slightly increases the risk of pancreatic cancer.
Familial atypical multiple mole and melanoma syndrome (FAMMM)
This is a condition caused by a fault in genes called CDKN2A and CDK4. People with FAMMM have large numbers of unusual moles. They also have a higher risk of skin cancer (melanoma) and pancreatic cancer.
Lynch syndrome is caused by faults in one of several genes: MLH1, MSH2, MSH6 or PMS2. Lynch syndrome increases the risk of bowel cancer. It also slightly increases the risk of some other cancers, including pancreatic cancer.
Lynch Syndrome UK supports people with the condition.
This is caused by a fault in a gene called TP53. It increases the risk of several cancers, including breast cancer, brain tumours and leukaemia (a type of blood cancer). It may also increase the risk of pancreatic cancer.