Tags: diabetic | cancer | immune

Study: Diabetics With Cancer Must Track Glucose

Monday, 03 Dec 2012 11:43 AM

Diabetics diagnosed with cancer may shift their focus away from managing their blood sugar to emphasize their cancer treatment. But that’s a bad strategy that puts them at even greater risk, a study suggests.
Researchers at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine have found uncontrolled blood sugar is more likely to kill type 2 diabetics before cancer does and impairs their immune system's ability to fight cancer.
The findings, published in the journal Population Health Management, underscore the need for diabetics to continue to aggressively manage their blood glucose after a cancer diagnosis.
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"People with diabetes hear cancer and they think that it is a death sentence, so who cares about diabetes at this point?" said Dr. June McKoy, director of geriatric oncology at the Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center of Northwestern University. "But if they're not careful, it's the diabetes that will take them out of this world, not the cancer. That's why this education is so critical when cancer comes on board. Patients must take care of both illnesses."
For the study, researchers examined five years of health records for more than 220,000 patients. They found about two-thirds of cancer patients who received diabetes education continued to closely track their blood sugar for three years. The numbers were significantly lower for patients who did not receive diabetes education.
The group who received diabetes education had 416 emergency room visits and 658 hospital admissions, compared to 463 ER visits and 883 admissions among uneducated patients.
Experts note that uncontrolled high blood sugar can result in kidney damage and failure as well as blindness and amputation of the feet. Diabetics also have a higher incidence of cancers of the liver, pancreas, colon, breast, bladder, and endometrial tissues.
In addition, type 2 diabetes hinders the immune system and the body's ability to fight cancer.
"If you are not taking good care of your diabetes, your cancer suffers, too," said McKoy.
The study was funded, in part, by the National Cancer Institute of the National Institutes of Health.

© HealthDay

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Diabetics diagnosed with cancer may stop managing their blood sugar, but that can be a deadly decision.
Monday, 03 Dec 2012 11:43 AM
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