New York Times Blog Talks Diabetes and Cancer

The other day, New York Times blogger Anahad O'Connor wrote about juggling diabetes and cancer, noting that as many as one in five cancer patients also has diabetes.

To those of us who write about cancer almost every day, this blog entry serves as a reminder of why balancing anti-cancer treatments and diabetes poses such a challenge for these patients:

  • - Chemotherapy treatments tend to do terrible things to one's taste buds and appetite; things can taste metallic or worse, one can develop mouth sores and other digestive tract problems, and of course they often cause nausea and/or vomiting—all of which can make eating seem about as unappealing as possible, leading to excessively low blood sugar levels and potential health crises.
  • - It often doesn't matter what other disease a person might have; when someone receives a cancer diagnosis, his or her life comes to a screeching halt, and this person will likely prioritize cancer treatment to the exclusion of almost everything else.

Other notable points include:

  • - Type 2 diabetes patients are at "an increased risk of developing cancers of the liver, pancreas, colon and bladder," compared to the general population.
  • - Glucocorticoids and chemotherapy could hasten the onset of diabetes in some patients who are already vulnerable to the disease.
  • - The onset of Type 2 diabetes can also make a patient vulnerable to cancer through "chronically high insulin levels and high blood sugar" since insulin spurs cell growth, and cancer cells use glucose to a much greater degree than other nutrients.
  • - As biological links begin to grow between the two diseases, so too are the behavioral links: Poor diet, lack of physical activity, and smoking.

Obesity and old age linked to both diabetes and cancer

The blog also notes that obesity and advanced age are links between the two diseases, but these are extraordinarily general, and while it is understood why getting older increases one's risk of developing cancer, it still remains largely a mystery why obesity does the same.

Advice for those fighting both diseases

The best advice the blog offers is getting a certified diabetes educator on one's cancer treatment team. Having spoken to a number of certified oncology nutritionists in the past about this topic, I would argue that they would be just as effective as diabetes educators.

Source: New York Times

More Articles

More Articles

Diabetics should avoid white bread and anything else made with white flour because it can raise their...

Diabetic shock occurs when blood sugar levels plummet, causing a disruption in the proper functioning of the body and brain. A significant drop in...

Diabetics are prone to boils because they have weakened immune systems. Boils are abscesses of infected skin that form near hair follicles. They...

One of the most important habits for diabetics to develop is a healthy exercise routine. If you’re...

Managing diabetes means not only monitoring your blood sugar but also following a healthful diet. Knowing...

Once widely known by the name "juvenile diabetes," type 1 diabetes is becoming more common. The disease occurs when the body starts attacking...

The American Heritage Dictionary defines homeostasis as a state of equilibrium, as in an organism or cell, maintained by self-regulating processes...

There are two types of diabetes, and both children and adults can develop either type....

The Mayo Clinic Diabetic Diet consists of ...

It is important for people with type 2 diabetes to follow a carefully recommended diet plan. The U.S....

According to the Mayo Clinic, excessive alcohol consumption can increase a person's risk of developing type 2...

With diabetes, your blood sugar levels...

It's important to follow a healthy diet if you have diabetes. Maintaining a frequent and nutritious eating schedule helps stabilize blood sugar...

Diabetic test strips are one of the biggest expenses in diabetes care. People who are on a fixed income need to watch every penny that they spend...

Many diabetics are told by their doctors to completely eliminate bread from their diet. While store-bought white bread is one of the worst foods a...