Appendix cancer risk factors

This page was reviewed under our medical and editorial policy by

Maurie Markman, MD, President, Medicine & Science.

This page was updated on June 8, 2022.

Risk factors for appendix cancer may vary, but often involve lifestyle habits, age, medical history and other considerations. Having a risk factor for cancer does not mean you will get the disease. Some people who have multiple risk factors never develop appendix cancer, while others get the disease despite no known risk factors.

Risk factors include:

Smoking: Smokers are more likely to develop appendix cancer than non-smokers.

Family history: Patients with a relative who has or has had appendix cancer or multiple endocrine neoplasia type 1 (MEN1) syndrome (also known as endocrine adenomatosis or Wermer syndrome) have a higher risk.

Medical history: Those with a history of certain medical conditions that affect the stomach’s ability to produce acid, such as atrophic gastritis, pernicious anemia and Zollinger-Ellison syndrome, are at an increased risk for appendix cancer.

Gender: Women are more likely to develop carcinoid tumors than men.

Age: The average age at diagnosis is 40.

Next topic: What are the symptoms of appendix cancer?

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