Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started
My Medicine

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Pancreatic Cancer Health Center

Font Size

Pancreatic Cancer Diet and Prevention

Pancreatic cancer often grows and spreads silently before it's discovered. For this reason, most cases of pancreatic cancer are difficult to treat.

Pancreatic Cancer Lifestyle

The uncomfortable fact is that anyone can get pancreatic cancer. A few risk factors for pancreatic cancer have been identified, but many people who get pancreatic cancer have no risk factors.

Cigarette smoking is one controllable risk factor for pancreatic cancer. People who smoke are about twice as likely to get pancreatic cancer as are nonsmokers.

Fortunately, the reverse is also true. After quitting smoking, the risk for pancreatic cancer steadily falls, eventually falling to the same risk as a nonsmoker after 10 to15 years.

Large studies also point to obesity and inactivity as potential risk factors for pancreatic cancer. People who exercise regularly have about half the risk of pancreatic cancer as sedentary people do.

Other factors such as coffee and alcohol consumption and use of aspirin and NSAIDs have not been consistently shown to increase (or decrease) the risk of pancreatic cancer.

Exercising, keeping a healthy weight, and not smoking should somewhat reduce the risk of developing pancreatic cancer.

Pancreatic Cancer Diet

Numerous studies have tried to identify which foods, if any, contribute to developing pancreatic cancer. The results don't allow any firm conclusions:

  • A typical American diet, high in fat and smoked or other processed meats, has been associated with pancreatic cancer in some but not all studies.
  • A healthy diet rich in fresh fruits and vegetables seemed to protect against pancreatic cancer in some but not all studies.
  • In experiments, lab rats fed a high-protein, high-fat diet were consistently found to develop pancreatic cancer. However, laboratory data doesn't necessarily apply to people.

No diet has been proven to change your risk for pancreatic cancer. A diet rich in fruits and vegetables, with lean meats in moderation, is the best diet for overall health.

Bottom line: There is no definite technique to prevent pancreas cancer. However, not smoking, exercising, and eating a proper diet is the best lifestyle choice for overall health.

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by David T. Derrer, MD on May 23, 2014

Today on WebMD

human pancreas
Do you know what they are?
man with a doctor
Our health check will steer you in the right direction.
sauteed cherry tomatoes
Fight cancer one plate at a time.
Lung cancer xray
See it in pictures, plus read the facts.
Integrative Medicine Cancer Quiz
Patrick Swayzes Widow Healing From Loss
Pets Improve Your Health
Resolved To Quit Smoking