Diabetes Is Considered A Major Pancreatic Cancer Risk Factor
Written By Tony Subia
Update: January 2019
The affect Diabetes has on pancreatic cancer as well some other types of cancer should be of major concern of everyone. Diabetes can be both a symptom and a cause of pancreatic cancer. In 2018 about 30 million Americans had sugar diabetes and another estimated 60 million were borderline diabetic with blood glucose levels determined not quite high enough for an actual diagnosis of Type 2 Diabetes. The term “Sugar Diabetes” is a simplified name for “Diabetes Mellitus” which is the medical name under which Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes are known.
Are Diabetics At Higher Risk of Getting Pancreatic Cancer?
Some studies show that almost 30% of pancreatic cancer cases are caused by diabetes with the overwhelming majority attributable to Type 2 versus Type 1 Diabetes. Other studies show that 1% 0f patients diagnosed with diabetes after age 50 will be diagnosed with pancreatic cancer within 3 years. Therefore, in those new onset cases, diagnosis of type 2 diabetes could very well be an early warning sign of pancreatic cancer.
Sudden changes in blood sugar sugar levels in patients who previously have had well-controlled diabetes could also be a sign of having cancer of the pancreas. A 2018 study in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute by Oxford University Press shows that recent-onset of diabetes was associated with a 2.3-fold greater increase in risk of pancreatic cancer.
Read More About The Above Study Here
Always discuss any symptoms of diabetes with your physician. This is particularly crucial when there is a family history of either diabetes or cancer since there is definitely a relationship between diabetes and pancreatic cancer.
Per The National Health Institute Abstract
“Up to 80% of pancreatic cancer patients present with either new-onset type 2 diabetes or impaired glucose tolerance at the time of diagnosis. Recent literature suggests that diabetes mellitus type 2 is a risk factor, a manifestation and a prognostic factor for pancreatic cancer. This article is intended to clarify the evidence about diabetes as a risk factor for pancreatic cancer.”
Source: National Institute of Heath https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5860818/
Types and Causes of Diabetes
One of the roles of the pancreas is producing insulin which balances levels of blood sugars. Diabetes is a disease in which the the pancreas fails to either produce sufficient levels of insulin, or the body does not sufficiently use the the insulin to maintain normal blood glucose levels. Insulin permits glucose to the body’s enter cells as a required source of energy.
With diabetes, glucose will remain in the blood stream instead of entering cells. This results in high glucose levels which leads to cell damage creating major health problems including a much higher risk of developing cancer of the pancreas as well other types of cancer. In fact, diabetes is the seventh leading cause of death in the USA. There are two main types of diabetes. Types 1 and 2 are both considered chronic diseases that affect the way a body regulates blood sugar (glucose).
Type 1 Diabetes (Insulin-Dependent). Sometimes known as “juvenile diabetes” because it is primarily diagnosed at childhood. Type 1 results when the pancreas does not produce insulin or not nearly enough insulin production needed to permit sugar (glucose) to enter body cells for energy. People must be treated with insulin to survive. Studies differ on whether or not, or to what degree it may be a symptom or cause of pancreatic cancer.
Type 2 Diabetes (Non-Insulin Dependent). Also primarily known as “adult onset’ or “late onset diabetes”. Those with Type 2 Diabetes have “insulin resistance” which means while the pancreas still produces insulin, the body does not use it effectively. Studies differ on why some people become “insulin resistant” and others do not. But all studies agree that poor lifestyle habits including unhealthy diets and lack of physical activity that leads to becoming overweight particularly to an obese level is the primary cause. Family genetics could also be a cause.
With Type 2 Diabetes, although the pancreas will try and compensate by producing more insulin, since the body is insulin resistant, glucose will accumulate with the bloodstream. To control Type 2, eat healthy and get more active. Lose weight. Discuss treatment with your doctor.
Epidemiological Evidence of Diabetes As A Risk Factor For Pancreatic Cancer
Per The National Health Institute (2012):
As a consequence of the obesity epidemic, the incidence of diabetes is increasing globally, with an estimated 285 million people, or 6.6% of the population from 20 to 79 years of age, affected. Type 2 diabetes mellitus accounts for more than 95% of the cases. Type 2 diabetes mellitus has been associated with an increased risk of several human cancers, such as liver, pancreatic, endometrial, colorectal, breast, and bladder cancer. After cigarette smoking and obesity, type 2 diabetes mellitus is likely the third modifiable risk factor for pancreatic cancer. However, the relationship between diabetes and pancreatic cancer is complex and intertwined. On one hand, diabetes can be an early manifestation of pancreatic cancer. On the other, diabetes has been implicated as a predisposing factor for pancreatic cancer.
Take Steps To Minimize The Risk of Getting Type 2 Diabetes
The chances of developing Type 2 Diabetes depend upon a combination of factors of which some can be controlled while others may not be self-controlled. You cannot change risk factors such as family genetic history, advancing age or specific ethnicity that may make you more vulnerable. But you can prevent or delay the risk by developing a healthier lifestyle.
See your doctor for a simple fasting blood test that usually would indicate whether you have Type 2 Diabetes or whether you are borderline diabetic. Having diabetes is a chronic disease unto itself and is the 7th leading cause of death in America. Keep in mind that having Type 2 Diabetes becomes a major risk factor of getting pancreatic cancer and can be both a cause and a symptom of pancreatic cancer which has the worst 5-year survival rate of any cancer. Pancreatic cancer is the 3rd leading cause of cause of cancer deaths in the US (2019) behind only lung and colon cancer.
Spread Awareness of The Dangers Between Diabetes and Pancreatic Cancer
PLEASE CONSIDER LINKING TO THIS ARTICLE. We all can help minimize cases of both cancer of the pancreas and diabetes. And we can increase the 5-year survival rate of pancreatic cancer which according to the National Health Institute in 2014 was a dismal 8.5% which was the worst survival rate of all cancers. Do not overlook the negative impact that Sugar Diabetes can have on developing Pancreatic Cancer, particularly with sudden onset at a later age.
It is crucially important to begin a healthier diet and to sustain an active lifestyle to minimize the chances of getting type 2 diabetes. Becoming obese is a significant danger. Diabetes by itself is the 7th leading cause of death (2018). Since diabetes can cause pancreatic cancer, having the two diseases together becomes a serious double-edged sword.
Get tested for diabetes at least once per year. Continue having regular serious conversations with your physician. Become more vigilant and adapt a healthy lifestyle. If you have diabetes, discuss establishing time-tables for scans with your doctor to help detect possible early indications for existing cases of pancreatic cancer as early as possible when it is most treatable.
Diabetes can be a symptom and cause of pancreatic cancer. Be diligent, Be Vigilant.
Minimize the risk of getting late-onset diabetes.
Sources and Extended Information
Mayo Clinic: Type 1 Diabetes
Mayo Clinic: Type 2 Diabetes
WebMD: Type 1 Diabetes
WebMD: Type 2 Diabetes
Symptoms of Diabetes
Preventing Type 2 Diabetes
Metformin Reduces Risk of Pancreatic Cancer
Risk Factors For Type 2 Diabetes
Type 1 Diabetes and Raised Risk of Certain Cancers
Diabetes May Be A Warning Sign of Pancreatic Cancer
Spread Awareness of The Dangers Between Diabetes and Pancreatic Cancer
PLEASE CONSIDER LINKING TO THIS ARTICLE. We all can help minimize cases of both cancer of the pancreas and diabetes. And we increase the 5-year survival rate of pancreatic cancer which in 2018 was a dismal 8.7%. Do not overlook the negative impact that Diabetes can have on developing Pancreatic Cancer, particularly with sudden onset at a later age.
Some studies show there is a two-fold risk of developing pancreatic cancer among those with diabetes. It is crucially important to begin a healthier diet and to sustain an active lifestyle to avoid getting type 2 diabetes. Becoming obese is a significant danger. Diabetes by itself is the 7th leading cause of death (2018). Since diabetes can cause pancreatic cancer, having the two disease together becomes a serious double-edged sword.
Get tested for diabetes at least once per year. Have serious conversations with your physician. Become more vigilant and renew a healthy lifestyle. If you have diabetes, discuss considering scans with your doctor to check for pancreatic cancer.