Insulin therapy increases pancreatic cancer risk

Insulin therapy increases the risk of pancreatic cancer and overall cancer, according to research from the University of Maryland, Baltimore.

Researcher Zhiqiang Lu studied data from more than 230,000 patients in the United Kingdom on antidiabetic therapy. Lu found that the use of insulin alone or in combination with other oral agents was associated with an increased risk of cancer.

In particular, use of insulin alone increased the risk for pancreatic cancer by 88 percent. The study found that it increased the risk of colorectal cancer as well.

In addition, insulin with oral agents increased the risk of pancreatic cancer by 133 percent.

Lu explored the role of hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c) value in modifying the risk. HbA1c is a lab test that shows the average amount of glucose in the blood over three months.

His analysis showed that HbA1c appears to be a risk factor for pancreatic cancer, with abnormal levels increasing the risk by 38 percent. The risk posed by HbA1c value varies among different types of cancer.

Other factors that increase the risk of pancreatic cancer include premixed and intermediate-acting insulin, compared to short-acting insulin.

Diabetes, cancer link
It’s well documented that people with diabetes are at higher risk for some cancers than people without diabetes. Cancers of the pancreas, colon, breast, liver, uterus, and bladder occur more frequently in people with type 2 diabetes, according to Mayo Clinic.

Potential reasons for the link between diabetes and cancer include shared risk factors, hyperglycemia, and other metabolic abnormalities of type 2 diabetes that cause cancer, according to Mayo Clinic.

Shared risk factors include advanced age, obesity and overweight, physical inactivity, unhealthy diet, being male, excessive alcohol intake, ethnicity, and tobacco smoking.

Lower your risk
Losing weight is one recommendation by American Diabetes Association to lower the risk of cancer. Weight loss of just 7 percent of total weight has shown to make a significant difference in a person’s cancer risk.

Eating a healthy diet with plenty of fresh vegetables, fruits and whole grains is another recommendation. Low-fat or non-fat dairy products and lean meats are also sensible choices. Watching portion sizes is crucial.

Individuals should set a goal of getting physical activity 30 minutes a day, 5 days a week, according to American Diabetes Association.

Finally, quitting smoking can lower the risk of developing cancer.

Sources: University of Maryland, Mayo Clinic, American Diabetes Association

Get a Free Diabetes Meal Plan

Get a free 7-Day Diabetes Meal Plan from Constance Brown-Riggs who is a Registered Dietitian-Certified Diabetes Educator and who is also a national spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association.

Just enter in your email below to download your free Diabetes Meal Plan.

By clicking Submit, you agree to send your info to InformationAboutDiabetes.com who may contact you with updates and information and we agree to use it according to our privacy policy.

More Articles

Limiting our intake of highly processed foods, and eating more whole and lightly processed fare can boost our nutrient and fiber intake, lower...

Chamomile tea has long been prized for its calming properties, but few people realize it’s also beneficial for glucose regulation. Traditionally,...

Today, the healing benefits of essential oils are more than the claims of ancient tradition and alternative medicine. They are increasingly the...

The different sugar content of fruits can be confusing when you are trying to manage your...

There is nothing close to a one-size-fits-all exercise program for those with diabetic peripheral neuropathy. The best general advice is to...

More Articles

”Metabolic memory” (less commonly known as ”hyperglycemic memory” or “legacy effect”) refers to the lingering effects of a long period of either...

Limiting our intake of highly processed foods, and eating more whole and lightly processed fare can boost our nutrient and fiber intake, lower...

With such a marked increase in the number of new diabetes cases, more people are wondering if type 1 diabetes...

Keeping your blood sugar levels under control can be tough. There are so many factors that can affect blood sugar, like exercise, food, illness,...

Today, the healing benefits of essential oils are more than the claims of ancient tradition and alternative medicine. They are increasingly the...

While some celebrities aren't quick to talk about living with diabetes, others are quite transparent and inspiring - acting as advocates for the...

People with diabetes are about twice as likely to experience heart disease as those without the condition, making cardiovascular health a critical...

Pilates is an exercise method proven to improve flexibility, strength, coordination, muscular stamina, balance, and posture. Many Pilates...

All diabetics know that maintaining proper blood sugar levels is the lifeline...

It can be difficult enough to get on stage and make a roomful of strangers laugh, but for comedians suffering from type 1 or type 2 diabetes,...

Most people with insulin-dependent diabetes use syringes and lancets every day. However, many of them do not know how to dispose of these...

Explaining diabetes to children can seem like a daunting task, but in reality, it is no more difficult than discussing anything else important....

Diabetes is a complex disease, affecting virtually every part of the body. The damage it does, to nerve endings, blood vessels, organs, and the...

People with type 1 and type 2 diabetes have successfully competed in the Olympic Games. Their amazing stories prove that diabetes is no match for...

If your child has diabetes, you want him or her to be safe while in school and to have the same educational opportunities as other children....