Adding to the list of complications from Diabetes, researchers from The George Institute Of Global Heath have issued warnings about Diabetes and the risk of cancer.
If you’ve been skirting the issues, trying to manage Diabetes without fully committing 100% to the steps you need to take for optimal health, this would be a good time to reassess your goals.
Aside from concerns over developing retinopathy, neuropathy, the potential for losing limbs, hearing loss, sexual dysfunction and heart disease, the research indicates that diabetes and the risk of cancer apply to both men and women…but women are at a higher risk.
Researchers took a very close look at 20 million people across the globe for this study, before presenting their conclusion.
Diabetes and the risk of cancer are more than a coincidence.
➡ Women with diabetes face the greatest risk, and are 27% more likely to get cancer (s) than women without diabetes.
➡ Men with diabetes have a 19% higher risk.
This statement was issued by Toshiaki Ohkuma, Ph.D., the study’s lead author:
“The link between diabetes and the risk of developing cancer is now firmly established. We have also demonstrated for the first time that women with diabetes are more likely to develop any form of cancer, and have a significantly higher chance of developing kidney, oral, stomach cancers, and leukemia.”
But this isn’t the first study of its kind…
From 2008 to 2012, researchers from the Baker IDI Heart and Diabetes Institute in Australia studied people specifically with Type 1 Diabetes living in Australia, Denmark, Finland, Scotland, and Sweden.
➡ The results showed a 25 to 50 % increase of cancer in the stomach, liver, pancreas, kidney, and endometrium.
➡ The researchers also pinpointed that men with Type 1 Diabetes were twice as likely to develop liver cancer.
➡ And, once again, women with Type 1 Diabetes came out even worse. Among them, the incidence of liver cancer was 78%.
The answer isn’t exactly clear, but there are several theories.
➡ The first one from the researchers is that elevated blood glucose (sugar) levels can “damage DNA,” and we already know that’s a cause of cancer.
➡ Another theory proposes that the environment within the body of some people with diabetes is ideal for cancer growth.
As reported by Dr. Minisha Sood, an endocrinologist at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City:
“Obesity is also playing an important role here in those with type 2 diabetes. Both obesity and type 2 diabetes are associated with metabolic abnormalities that may promote cancer progression.”
She added that the overall existing inflammation in people with any type of diabetes is a significant contributing factor.
“This inflammation can lead to insulin resistance within other bodily tissues, and thus leads to higher insulin levels and higher insulin needs,” she explains.
“Higher insulin levels may then lead to an increase in other hormones which can promote cell growth and cancer growth as well.”
Altogether, it is likely a combination of the high blood glucose levels, high insulin levels, higher insulin-like growth factor action, and the known inflammatory environment in patients with diabetes and obesity which leads to increased growth of cancer cells.”
➡ Which brings us full circle back to the many articles on this site about inflammation, the need for weight loss, correct monitoring of blood glucose levels, etc.
But why are women at greater risk?
➡ One theory comes from a noticeable pattern: Women experience prediabetes for nearly two years longer than men before receiving adequate treatment.
➡ It has also been well established that the risk factors for women, including how soon they are correctly diagnosed and started on medications, vary greatly for other conditions such as heart disease and stroke. (Read: Differences In Diagnosing-Treating Heart Disease Between Men And Women)
And, it’s up to us, the consumers, to change these disparities, by expecting the highest level of medical care from our physicians and settling for nothing less.
What hasn’t changed, however, regardless of gender, is that prevention and good weight management for any type of Diabetes is still the best line of defense.
Eating a diet consisting of mostly whole foods, getting plenty of exercises, monitoring blood glucose levels daily, adjusting medications with the support of your health care team, and maintaining a healthy weight will cut your risk of cancer.
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