2. Cancer and Diabetes - Lethal Connection

A research done by Dr. Frederick Brancati of Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore and colleagues illustrates an alarming correspondence between two common medical conditions, cancer and diabetes. The findings suggest that for diabetics who have cancer, it may be vitally important to do what is necessary to get their diabetes under control for the sake of improving cancer survival.

This research combined the results of 23 studies involving about 125,000 people in 10 countries. Looking at some specific types of cancer, the research showed 76 percent higher risk of death for women with cancer of the uterus and 61 percent higher risk of death for breast cancer if they also had diabetes. For colorectal cancer, there was a 32 percent higher risk of death for diabetics. There was also an increased mortality risk for diabetics with some other types of cancers including prostate and lung.

Diabetics, who have high blood sugar levels, are also at a higher risk for heart disease, stroke, kidney damage and blindness. The researchers cited a number of possibilities for this interaction between these two conditions.

Diabetes may predispose a person to cancer complications, or patients and doctors may pay less attention to diabetes once cancer is diagnosed, the researchers said.
"Maybe the patients are paying a price for ignoring diabetes in the immediate (cancer) treatment stage and at later points," Brancati said. In addition, some cancer treatment methods like steroid medications can cause blood sugar levels to go even higher, Brancati pointed out.

Journal of the American Medical Association, Feb. 2007


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