There’s no surefire way to prevent pancreatic cancer, but there are steps you can take to help lower your risk of developing the disease:
- Quit smoking. Smoking is the biggest avoidable risk factor for pancreatic cancer, responsible for up to 30 percent of pancreatic cancers, according to the American Cancer Society. Within several years of quitting, your risk drops to the same level as someone who’s never smoked. Discuss smoking-cessation aids with your doctor to determine which may be the best fit for you.
- Maintain a healthy weight and improve your diet. Regular exercise and a healthy diet, while not conclusively linked to a lower pancreatic cancer risk in and of themselves, can help you fight obesity, which has been linked to pancreatic cancer. Focus on plant-based foods, with at least 2 1/2 cups of fruits and vegetables daily. Opt for whole grains instead of refined grains. Choose fish, poultry and beans instead of red meat or processed foods.
- Ask your provider about an aspirin regimen. Low-dose aspirin – taken to lower the chances of suffering a heart attack and stroke – reduced the risk of pancreatic cancer by almost half in a University of Minnesota study. However, as with any medication, there are risks associated with taking aspirin. If you have an increased risk of developing pancreatic cancer (for example, due to a strong family history of the disease), talk with your provider about whether aspirin could benefit you.