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Co–morbidity of Cancer for Diabetics Makes Treatment a Challenge

Wednesday, June 23, 2010
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To quote Dr Edward Giovannucci, MD, ScD, Harvard School of Public Health in Boston, Massachusetts." Probably the most important point to re-emphasize is that modifiable risk factors (overweight, obesity, lack of exercise, poor diet, and smoking) contribute to both diabetes and cancer risk, probably in part through similar mechanisms, such as insulin resistance and increased inflammation"

Whether the association between cancer & Diabetes is direct -as in hypoglycaemia, or whether diabetes is a marker of many underlying biological factors that increase cancer risk due to insulin resistance or hyperinsulinemai or if it is indirect due to factors such as obesity etc is still unclear, however what is definitely clear is that diabetes increases mortality rates in cancer patients and vice versa. Yet another question that pops is that whether the duration of diabetes increases cancer risk and does multiple drug therapy complicate the problem.



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User Comments

13 September, 2011 | Vijayalakshmi Iyengar | Reply

Vijayalakshmi Iyengar Good news for those who have phobia for needles, especially the young kids who are also found to be Type 2 diabetics. The new insulin-delivery systems have shown promising results and will hopefully enter the market soon. They include forms of insulin that can be inhaled like asthma medications, taken orally or administered via skin patches, eye drops or time released gels.
Insulin inhalers use rapid acting insulin and are the size of a flash light. The sprayed insulin is inhaled into the mouth and coats the mouth, throat and tongue which is quickly absorbed in the blood stream.

11 June, 2011 | marie-france | Reply

marie-france Bonjour. Je voudrais savoir comment gerer les maladies de mon mari. Il a le diabete type II et un cancer non a petites cellules du poumon. commment puis je combiner le Medrol avec le Glucovance??( car le medrol fait monter le taux de sucre)

30 June, 2010 | Suchitra | Reply

Suchitra Do you think if a diabetic ensures that he has a good diet-High fiber adequate carbs, rich in phytonutrients etc as prescribed by a dietitian, follow doctors orders in terms of medication and exercise, they stand a better chance of avoiding cancer, or is it due to drug interactions?

25 June, 2010 | Vijayalakshmi Iyengar | Reply

Vijayalakshmi Iyengar I dont think this would apply to Gestational Diabetes. I would think a gynec would ask the lady to terminate her pregnancy, if she detects that the Pregnant gestational diabetic mother to be, is also suffering from Cancer, to save both the baby and the mother from further complications.

25 June, 2010 | Kanika Jain | Reply

Kanika Jain According to studies, the association between diabetes and some cancers may be due in part to shared risk factors between the two diseases such as aging, obesity, diet, and physical inactivity. So, healthy and balanced diet, physical activity, and weight management that reduce the risk and improve outcomes of type 2 diabetes and some forms of cancer should be promoted for all.

Kanika Jain

25 June, 2010 | Ambika, | Reply

Ambika, Does this apply for someone who's had geatational diabetes? But now has everything back to normal post pregnancy.

25 June, 2010 | Sangeetha Narayana Swamy | Reply

Sangeetha Narayana Swamy Dear Ambika,

If you had Gestational Diabetes in your pregnancy and now the blood glucose levels are back to normal, then you should be more careful with regard to your Diabetes because more than 30% of women develop type II diabetes later in life.

Therefore consume a nutritious and well balanced diet, follow a regular exercise regimen, maintain a healthy weight so that you delay or prevent diabetes later in life. Also get a complete Diabetes Assessment and Cancer assessment done once a year so that you can rest assured if the results are normal.

Thank you for your query,

Sangeetha Narayana Swamy,
Senior Dietitian,

25 June, 2010 | Sunita, Ahmedabad | Reply

Sunita, Ahmedabad This is unfair - One more thing to worry about along with controlling my glucose (I am a Type 1)

25 June, 2010 | Sangeetha Narayana Swamy | Reply

Sangeetha Narayana Swamy Dear Sunita,

Obesity, smoking, improper diet and being sedentary are modifiable risk factors for both cancer and diabetes. Non-modifiable factors like age and heredity also have a important role to play.

Therefore maintaining a normal weight for your height, having excellent glucose control, HbA1C always between 5.5 to 6.2, consuming a diet rich in whole grains, good quality protein, vegetables, fruits, good and healthy fats help in control of sugars and also prevent cancer. Also make sure you are giving your body foods rich in antioxidants. Along with the above guidelines you should get a yearly complete health check done to clear all doubts about any prevailing disease.

Thanks for your query, Visit for more updated information on Cancer and Diabetes.

Sangeetha Narayana Swamy,
Senior Dietitian,

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Tags: Breast Cancer, Cancer, Cancer Diet & Nutrition, Cancer Management, Cancer Prevention, Diabetes, Diabetes Management, Diabetes Prevention, Healthy Lifestyle, Lung Cancer, Nutrition, Nutrition Counseling, Oral Cancer, Type 2 Diabetes - Insulin Dependent Diabetes


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