Diabetes and cancer are two life threatening diseases that are taking epidemic proportions globally. Our diet and lifestyle has a huge impact on the development of both diabetes and cancer. Cancer is today considered to be more a metabolic disease than a genetic one.
I have met a great number of people coping with diabetes complications such as leg amputations and blindness and people doing cancer treatments telling me: “Christina, I wish I knew all this before”.
My goal is to give you this information when you are still healthy and when you have time to take action. My mission is to empower you to be proactive about your health, by reversing type II diabetes and preventing cancer.
In this article we are going to examine the role of uncontrolled diabetes on cancer development.
The Diabetes Epidemic
In the US, approximately 35 percent of adults have pre-diabetes. The American Diabetes Association estimates that in 2050, 1 in 3 Americans will have diabetes, where 90-95 percent of diabetes is Type 2 diabetes. Type 2 diabetes is lifestyle related. This means that this huge metabolic defect is the result of our dietary habits, having extra weight and lack of activity.
Most people are not aware that they have insulin resistance or that they are pre-diabetic. Even those who are aware of it, often do not make their best efforts for reversing diabetes or even keeping it under control.
High Blood Sugar and Cancer Risk
As seen in the chart below, the risk of a series of cancers is strongly linked to fasting blood glucose levels. In a study of Korean men, people in the highest blood glucose group had twice the risk of developing pancreatic cancer compared to those with normal blood glucose levels. Liver cancer was about 50 to 70% higher in people with elevated blood glucose and risk of all cancers was increased by about 30%.
A recent study published in the medical journal Cancer Research in October 2016 analysed the results of 34 older studies. The new study which included approximately 1.6 million US adults who were part of the Liver Cancer Pooling Project added new evidence proving the link between obesity, diabetes and cancer. The study concluded that having Type 2 diabetes can more than double the risk of liver cancer compared to those without Type 2 diabetes. The researchers also found that for every 2 inches increase in waist circumference liver cancer risk increased by 8 percent.
5 Ways Uncontrolled Diabetes Increases Cancer Risk
Studies have shown that constant high blood sugar levels lead to a number of metabolic changes that increase cancer risk both directly and indirectly. The higher the blood sugar levels, the higher the risk, especially for pancreatic and liver cancers.
More specifically, having uncontrolled high blood sugar levels:
- Increases oxidation and DNA damage, which leads to changes in cells leading to cancer development
- Increases IL-6, an indication of inflammation which is a known tumor promoter
- Increases the levels of circulating estrogen, increasing the risk of hormone related cancers such as breast, ovarian and prostate cancer
- Promotes angiogenesis, the formation of new blood vessels that feed small tumors helping them grow
- Inhibits the immune system
Take Home Message
- Type II diabetes is taking epidemic proportions that is linked to the increasing prevalence of cancer.
- Cancer is now considered to be a metabolic disease.
- Insulin resistance and type II diabetes can be reversed by simple lifestyle changes.
- Campbell, Peter T., Christina C. Newton, Neal D. Freedman, Jill Koshiol, Michael C. Alavanja, Laura E. Beane Freeman, Julie E. Buring et al. “Body mass index, waist circumference, diabetes, and risk of liver cancer for US Adults.” Cancer research 76, no. 20 (2016): 6076-6083.
- American Institute for Cancer Research: http://www.aicr.org/cancer-research-update/2016/10_19/cru-more-evidence-diabetes-obesity-link-to-liver-cancers.html?_ga=2.140421683.108255456.1508187319-879147726.1507195139