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Genetics & Genomics

Hereditary Pancreatic Cancer Syndromes: Providing Care to At-Risk Families

Elisabeth King
Bita M. Nehoray
CJON 2019, 23(6), 579-582 DOI: 10.1188/19.CJON.579-582

Hereditary pancreatic cancer continues to pose challenges to providers, as well as to patients and their families. Pancreatic cancer has a poor prognosis, and individuals with family histories of pancreatic cancer are often motivated to pursue genetic testing. This article reviews various hereditary pancreatic cancer syndromes, as well as pancreatic cancer screening recommendations, options, and limitations.


  • Individuals at risk of hereditary pancreatic cancer should be referred to a genetics professional for formal genetic cancer risk assessment and genetic testing, when appropriate.
  • Nurses should understand the cancer risks associated with various hereditary pancreatic cancer syndromes, inform patients that recommendations are continually evolving, and provide patient support to ensure that cancer prevention and early detection recommendations are implemented.
  • Individuals and family members at increased risk of pancreatic cancer should be encouraged to adopt positive health behaviors and find ways to cope with emotional distress and adapt.

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