What are the risk factors for pancreatic cysts?

Most pancreatic cysts develop for no apparent reason, however, people with pancreatitis (inflammation of the pancreas) are more likely to develop cysts. In some cases, trauma to the stomach area may cause pancreatic cysts.

If you have a family history of pancreatic, stomach, gallbladder or liver cancer, you may have a higher risk of the cysts turning into cancer.

What can you do to prevent pancreatic cysts?

Because doctors do not know the cause of pancreatic cysts, there is no guaranteed way to lower your risk for developing the cysts. However, since pancreatitis can increase risk of pancreatic cysts, lowering your risk for pancreatitis may lower your risk for pancreatic cysts. This can include:

  • Not smoking or using tobacco. Speak with your doctor if you need help quitting.
  • Reducing the amount of alcohol you drink.
  • Eating a healthy diet, which includes plenty of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins and low-fait dairy. Talk with your doctor or a nutritionist about what you should include in a healthy diet.
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