Cancer drugs prove lethal for diabetics

Deccan Chronicle.

Lifestyle, Health and Wellbeing

Steroids, which are often given to decrease nausea in cancer patients, can increase insulin levels.

A recent study, which was published in Diabetologia, confirmed the relation between diabetes and cancer.

Hyderabad: Among every four diabetic patients there is a chance of one being affected with cancer, say oncologists. A patient, who is suffering from both, will tend to deteriorate if not treated properly since drugs used against cancer often aggravate diabetes. Steroids, which are often given to decrease nausea in cancer patients, can increase insulin levels.

A recent study, which was published in Diabetologia, confirmed the relation between diabetes and cancer. As a part of the study, a systematic review and meta-analysis of 121 groups including 20 million individuals was done.

Predominantly in diabetic patients, prevalence of different types of cancers like pancreas, liver, breast, colorectal, urinary tract, female reproductive organs is reasonably high. In every four diabetic patients, the possibility of one getting affected with cancer is more. Insulin is a hormone that is responsible for allowing glucose in the blood to enter cells, imparting them with the energy to function.

If insulin is given to a diabetic patient suffering from cancer, the steroids which are prescribed as a part of cancer treatment will worsen the condition of the patients.

Speaking about the issue, Dr Sai Ram, an oncologist from MNJ Cancer Hospital said, “The insulin should be given after having some food rather than the usual case wherein the insulin is given to diabetic patients before the consumption of food. Instead of long acting insulin injections, short ac-ting insulin injection shou-ld be given to the patients who are suffering from both cancer and diabetes.”

Speaking about the treatment of cancer leading to Type 2 diabetes, Dr Sai Ram further added, “Androgen-deprivation therapy (ADT) with luteinizing hormone-releasing hormone agonists for prostate cancer, are linked with increased risk of the development of type 2 diabetes, possibly due to loss of insulin sensitivity.”

Speaking about the medication give to diabetes patients, Dr Ravi Shankar, an endocrinologist said, “Few medications used in treatment of diabetes have an increased association with certain cancers such as pancreatic and urinary bladder cancer. While this is do, the good old medication Metformin used for diabetics may have a protective role against certain cancers.”

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