Diabetes and cancer connection
The role of elevated blood glucose in the development of cancer is currently unclear but the fact that there is a strong correlation, cannot be ruled out.
The role of elevated blood glucose in the development of cancer is currently unclear but the fact that there is a strong correlation, cannot be ruled out. The cancer-protective roles of certain medications like metformin also need to be backed by concrete scientific evidence to be advocated as a putative therapy. Similarly, concerns about the positive effect of such medications on inhibiting cancer development need further investigation.
Clinicians may however continue prescribing anti-hyperglycaemic drugs to patients but with caution, particularly in the case of high-risk patients. The shared risk factor which has emerged, obesity, has prioritised the advocacy of improved treatment and management of obesity at primary care centres across the country. There is a clear need for raising patient and doctor awareness in this regard and patients undergoing treatment for diabetes need to be cognizant of regular cancer screenings whilst being proactive about preventive lifestyle measures.
The present situation demands that hyperglycaemia and hyperinsulinemia, ie., pre-diabetes be effectively managed to ensure that the risks of adverse diabetes-related cancer complications for the patients are minimised. Preventive lifestyle measures aimed at lowering the damage caused by common risk factors should be actively advocated by physicians. - The writer is a Consultant Endocrinologist, Vice President, South Asian Federation of Endocrine Societies