Metformin, a diabetes drug, was found to decrease the risk of pancreatic cancer in women. The Swiss-American study discovered that long-term use of the diabetes drug, metformin lowered the risk of pancreatic cancer in women. Long-term use of the medicine, as well as other diabetes drugs, is linked to pancreatic cancer risk in men. 

According to USNews.com, the study, published in the online issue of The American Journal of Gastroenterology explored drug prescriptions, diagnostics, hospitalization and fatality information that were collected by the British General Practice Research Database.  The study also took into account smoking, alcohol use and body mass index of nearly 2,800 patients diagnosed with pancreatic cancer under the age of 90, as well as 12,600 patients who did not have pancreatic cancer.

The study found that short term use of metformin, sulfonylureas, and insulin did not have an impact on pancreatic cancer risk. Besides female patients, long-term use of metformin made pancreatic cancer risk rise. Female patients have a higher risk of pancreatic cancer by using long-term sulfonylureas, while males have a higher risk by using insulin long-term.

The U.S. National Institutes of Health states that pancreatic cancer has an overall survival rate of less than five percent, making it the fourth most deadly cancer. According to everydayhealth.com, about 80 percent of people who have pancreatic cancer also have glucose intolerance (blood sugar levels that are high, but not yet at diabetic levels) or diabetes. 

While diabetes may be an important factor in pancreatic cancer risk, there are ways to reduce your risk along with the short term use of metformin, sulfonylureas and insulin. 

Exercise and a healthy diet

Obesity can lead to diabetes and blood sugar problems which increase risk of pancreatic cancer.  Exercise and a healthy diet will not only lower your risk of pancreatic cancer, but kidney cancer, heart disease, stroke, breast cancer and uterine cancer. 

Quit Smoking

The chemicals in cigarettes can damage DNA, causing cancer. Besides pancreatic cancer, those who smoke also risk getting leukemia, cancer of the lung, lip, mouth, tongue, larynx, and more.  

Eat Your Vegetables

Going along with the healthy diet, eating at least three servings of vegetables a day lowers the risk of pancreatic cancer. Eating vegetables also lowers the risk of heart disease, diabetes and stroke. According to yourdiseaserisk.edu, you can eat one cup of leafy greens, 1/2 cup of other vegetables (raw or cooked) or 1/2 cup of cooked beans or peas. 

Lower Alcohol Consumption

Alcohol abuse can lead to chronic pancreatitis. The abnormal changes and scarring in the pancreas can lead to pancreatic cancer risk. 

Know Your Family History

A close relative with pancreatic cancer can increase your risk of the disease. The DNA mutations can be passed on from each generation. Knowing your family history can help you catch the cancer in its early stages.