Many hypotheses have been proposed about the aetiology of cancer of the pancreas, especially concerning the effects of tobacco, coffee, alcohol, diet, and pancreatic pathology. Results of numerous epidemiological studies are, however, inconsistent. Chemical carcinogens have been implicated as possible risk factors. Animal studies have been carried out to determine the role of these chemical factors but, except for nitrosamines and their derivatives (components of tobacco), chemicals have not been proved carcinogenic for the pancreas. Many studies have also been conducted among occupational groups. Several of them showed an excess risk of cancer of the pancreas, especially in the chemical and petroleum industries. The lack of accuracy about the nature of products used, however, does not permit a definitive conclusion as to their carcinogenic role. This paper is a review of publications about occupational exposures and cancer of the pancreas.
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