Recent studies are indicating a possible connection between diabetes and cancer. People with diabetes have an increased risk of developing certain health conditions and now cancer could be one of them. Also people who have cancer may have an increased risk of diabetes in their future. Discover more about the diabetes and cancer connection and what you can do about it.
- A recent study published in the Journal of Diabetes Care revealed a connection between diabetes and an increased risk of developing cancer. The cancer/diabetes connection seems to revolve around hyperinsulinemia, insulin resistance and inflammation. While the reasons are still being studied, since there is no direct link, people with diabetes seem to have an increased risk of pancreas, liver, kidney, bladder, colon, rectum and endometrial cancer within 2 years following the diagnosis of diabetes. High body fat, a sedentary life style, a poor diet high in processed foods plus older age may also play a part in this correlation. It is important to ask your doctor about getting screened for cancer so it can be treated in its early stages. It is also imperative to maintain proper blood sugars when diagnosed with diabetes to reduce cancer risk.
- People with diabetes are at an increased risk of developing complications such as stroke, eye problems, nerve damage and heart disease. Certain cancers have been added to that list. Strategies traditionally used to reduce the risk of other diabetes-related complications may also help people reduce the risk of getting cancer. This includes staying physically active, maintaining a healthy weight, avoiding processed foods and quitting unhealthy habits such as smoking or heavy alcohol use.
- Keeping your blood sugar under control can make a big difference. Have plenty of glucose test strips on-hand so you can check your blood sugar level regularly. Reduce insulin resistance by participating in daily exercise and lower your cancer risk.
- Certain diabetes medications can actually be helpful in reducing the risk of developing cancer. Research relating to Metformin indicates it may lower the risk of getting cancer. This is being tested in present clinical trials. Talk your doctor about diabetes medications and their possible benefits in treating other health issues.
- There are common risk factors related to both cancer and diabetes. Obesity or a high BMI may influence the development of cancer and/or diabetes. Losing just 10 pounds can improve your health and reduce these risks. Eating healthy foods can help you maintain better blood sugar control and reduce cancer risk. Include whole foods such as lean meats, grains, fresh fruits and vegetables in your daily diet and limit your intake of processed foods, red meat and alcohol.
- People with diabetes are often busy with self-management and ongoing medical visits to their health care team. This may include a dentist, endocrinologist, nephrologist, podiatrist, ophthalmologist and cardiologist. As a result, studies show people with diabetes might be less likely to schedule essential cancer screenings, such as a mammogram to screen for breast cancer or a colonoscopy for colon cancer. It is important to maintain a schedule that includes all of your medical exams and screenings. Early detection of cancer can improve your chances of fighting it.
- If a person with diabetes is diagnosed with cancer, it is essential to ensure everyone in your health care team works together. Some cancer therapies can make blood sugar control worse. Discuss the options with your physicians to develop a plan that works for you. Ask questions and be your own advocate. Continue to do research and inquire about the latest happenings.
Learning more about the diabetes and cancer connection can help people combat both. A healthy lifestyle, regular medical appointments and ongoing screenings make a big difference. Be proactive about your overall health so problems can be diagnosed and treated right away.