The Connection Between Diabetes and Cancer

For all of the years that cancer has been around, it is still somewhat of a mystery in many ways.  We all want to know how we can prevent cancer from occurring but there is no sure-fire way to guarantee that you will not get cancer.  What we do know now is that there are many healthy lifestyle choices that can be made that will help lower the risk of getting cancer.  Those already struggling with health issues, such as diabetes, may unfortunately be at an increased risk of getting cancer.  New studies have shown a link between diabetes and various forms of cancer.  Type 2 diabetes, which is preventable, has been shown to be connected to a higher incidence of cancer.

Type 2 diabetes is described by the American Diabetes Association as, “Diabetes is a problem with your body that causes blood glucose (sugar) levels to rise higher than normal. This is also called hyperglycemia. Type 2 diabetes is the most common form of diabetes.  If you have type 2 diabetes your body does not use insulin properly. This is called insulin resistance. At first, your pancreas makes extra insulin to make up for it. But, over time it isn’t able to keep up and can’t make enough insulin to keep your blood glucose at normal levels.”  Many people can avoid Type 2 diabetes by eating a low-glycemic index diet and maintaining a healthy and active lifestyle.  Avoiding Type 2 diabetes may just help you prevent cancer so it is certainly worth the effort.  The National Center for Biotechnology Information discusses the link between Type 2 diabets and cancer, ” Epidemiological studies have demonstrated an association between type 2 diabetes and cancer. Type 2 diabetes is characterized by insulin resistance and hyperinsulinemia. Hyperinsulinemia may lead to cancer through insulin’s effect on its cognate receptor and the insulin-like growth factor system. The effects of insulin and insulin-like growth factor I on cancer development and progression have been demonstrated in animal and human studies. Type 2 diabetes has been positively associated with cancers of the breast, colon, and pancreas. An inverse relationship has been observed between type 2 diabetes and prostate cancer, and this may be due to lower testosterone levels in men with type 2 diabetes. Medications used to treat type 2 diabetes may affect cancer cells directly or indirectly by affecting serum insulin levels. Hyperinsulinemia may be an important risk factor for cancer as well as a target for cancer therapy.”  The link between Type 2 diabetes and cancer is significant and startling.  Millions of Americans suffer from Type 2 diabetes which puts them at a larger risk of developing cancer and some reports also show a higher risk of death from cancer.  It is also a concern as we see a generation of children growing up obese and developing Type 2 diabetes very young.  And, not only does Type 2 diabetes put you at an increased risk of cancer but of other life threatening health issues.  WebMD discusses just how significant the increased risk of cancer is, “Diabetes doubles the risk of liver, pancreas, and endometrial cancer. It increases the risk of colorectal, breast, and bladder cancer by 20% to 50%.”  By encouraging a healthy diet and active lifestyle, Type 2 diabetes can be avoided and by extension, the risk of cancer lowered.

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