People who have Type 2 diabetes also have a higher risk of getting cancer. But diabetics, once diagnosed with cancer, tend to ignore blood sugar levels to focus on the new problem. While cancer is clearly a pressing concern, concentrating solely on it and ignoring diabetes could be very dangerous.
The primary problem faced by diabetics with cancer is that uncontrolled high blood sugar impairs their immune system’s ability to fight cancer, according to researchers at Northwestern University. In their recent study, diabetic patients who received diabetes education after a cancer diagnosis were more likely to take care of their blood sugar. So, they visited the ER and the hospital less often, and kept monitoring blood sugar.
Cancer is not a death sentence. There is always hope, but some diabetics give up their treatments after a cancer diagnosis—however, the diabetes could actually cause death while they are fighting the cancer.
If high blood sugar is left uncontrolled, it can cause kidney damage, kidney failure, blindness, and severe blood vessel damage. It’s imperative that diabetics diagnosed with cancer fight both problems, rather than concentrating solely on cancer. This is especially important in light of the fact that diabetics face a higher incidence of liver cancer, pancreatic cancer, colon cancer, breast cancer, bladder cancer, and endometrial cancer.
The Northwestern study examined five years of health records for about 201,000 patients. They found 65% of cancer patients who received diabetes education had their hemoglobin a-1c tested at least twice, and 88% had it tested at least once over three years (this test is the best indication of your blood sugar levels in the past several months.) The comparative numbers for those who were not educated in diabetes were 48% and 78%, respectively.
The group who received diabetes education had 658 hospital admissions, compared to 883 in the other group. Clearly, the healthier choice is to keep treating diabetes even when faced with cancer.
Sources for Today’s Articles:
Diabetics with Cancer Should Treat Both Conditions Seriously
“Diabetics with cancer dangerously ignore blood sugar,” Northwestern University, November 29, 2012.