Acute and/or chronic pancreatitis has been implicated as an important risk factor for pancreatic cancer; however, the incidence and temporal relationship of pancreatitis before pancreatic cancer diagnosis are unclear. We aim to understand the role and incidence of pancreatitis temporally with the development of pancreatic cancer.
A population-based study was used to investigate a temporal relationship between pancreatitis and pancreatic cancer diagnoses. Intervals of 3, 6, 12, 24, and 36 months were developed. Demographical data including age, sex, and race were also recorded and analyzed.
A total of 50,080 patients were found to have a diagnosis of pancreatic cancer, of which 7420 (14.8%) had prior diagnoses of pancreatitis. Of those, 92% were between the ages of 40 and 89 years. African Americans had a higher rate of pancreatitis before cancer diagnosis when compared with whites (21.2% vs 14.8%, P < 0.0001). Further analysis revealed that pancreatitis occurred in 81.3% of patients 3 months before a diagnosis of pancreas cancer and 98.9% had established diagnoses of pancreatic cancer within 3 years.
Screening of patients older than 40 years who have pancreatitis and unclear etiology of pancreatitis may be warranted, especially in African Americans and male individuals.