Cancer is a terrible, life altering, vicious disease, one you’d like to avoid if you can. Now there’s a new meta-analysis including 16 research studies (with nearly 900,000 subjects) that finds prediabetes may up the risk of being diagnosed with cancer by a startling 15%. Prior to this study the link between cancer risk and prediabetes was controversial; to address this the team conducted a rigorous meta analysis using studies from Asia, the US, Europe and even Africa.
The current work appears in Diabetologia and finds that no matter which definition of prediabetes used, – impaired glucose tolerance or impaired fasting glucose or a combination of the two – there was no difference in terms of cancer risk. Even after adjusting for BMI, having prediabetes was still associated with a higher risk of cancer.
Prediabetes is a condition, most often without symptoms, where your blood sugar level is higher than normal but not considered high enough to fall into the diabetic range. Without intervention this will most likely become type 2 diabetes in under ten years. What’s more, long-term damage to your heart and circulatory system that comes as the result of diabetes may have already begun.
What puts you at risk for prediabetes?
-Getting older, especially after 45.
-Having had gestational diabetes when pregnant.
-Having a baby over 9 pounds.
-Having polycystic ovary syndrome.
-A family (parent or sibling) history.
-Being of African American, Hispanic, American Indian, Asian American or Pacific Islander descent.
-Not getting enough sleep (under 6 hours) or too much (over 9 hours) sleep on a regular basis.
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Prediabetes Ups Cancer Risk By 15% Continued…
In the current meta analysis, prediabetes was significantly linked with higher risks of cancer of the stomach or colorectum, liver, pancreas, breast and endometrium. The condition is not linked to cancers of the prostate, ovary, kidney or bladder. One reason for the link between prediabetes and some cancers may be the result of chronic hyperglycemia and related conditions that might act as carcinogens. Another theory is that the higher insulin resistance of prediabetes may lead to increased secretion of insulin and this can let cancer cells grow and divide.
Also of interest is the finding of the meta analysis on the medication Metformin, the most widely described treatment for type 2 diabetes, may also have some protective anticancer properties. This drug helps to achieve almost a 30% reduction in the lifetime cancer risk for diabetes patients. No one knows if this would also be true for prediabetes until more long-term larger studies of high-risk subjects are conducted.
Considering the prevalence of prediabetes, the study findings suggest that doctors and others start working with the prediabetic population… helping them eat better (more fruits and veggies, high fiber, whole grains), exercise more, and keep an eye on their weight. The positive in a prediabetes diagnosis is that it can be the wake up call a patient needs to turn things around and take real, lasting steps to improve health. Prediabetes does not have to turn into type 2 diabetes; you can turn things around. But you must act now.
To your good health,