More bad news for people with diabetes

Diagnosis form placed on the doctor's desk. Chronic diseases, the major cause of disability and death globally.

If you have type 2 diabetes, listen up. Your risk of dying from cancer is significantly higher than the average person. It used to be felt this was isolated to those who were both overweight and had diabetes. Now, however, we have evidence that even normal weight individuals with diabetes are at increased risk of dying from cancer.

The study, presented at the European Association for the Study of Diabetes (EASD), showed that men with diabetes were 22% more likely to die from cancer than men without diabetes. For women the risk was even higher, at 31%.

Eurek Alert: Study finds people with type 2 diabetes at higher risk of death from both obesity-related and non-obesity related cancers

When broken down to “obesity related cancers” (such as breast, endometrial, colorectal, kidney etc.), men with diabetes were 84% more likely to die of cancer than matched controls without diabetes, while women were 47% more likely. The authors were not all that surprised by this finding.

They were surprised, however, to find that for non-weight related cancers (such as lung cancer), people with diabetes still had an increased risk of dying. The increase in risk was smaller, 6% for men and 18% for women, but it was surprising that even when patients maintained a normal weight, just the presence of diabetes increased the risk of death. This suggested a different potential mechanism may be increasing the risk.

Once again, that makes sense. Regardless of weight, chronic hyperinsulinemia and elevated glucose likely contribute to cancer cell growth, and elevated levels of IGF-1 may also serve as a cancer growth factor. These metabolic factors can be present even in normal weight individuals.

While this sounds like terribly depressing news, it may actually have a silver lining. If hyperglycemia, elevated insulin levels, and elevated IGF-1 contribute to cancer mortality, then measures that reduce those levels should likewise reduce the risk of dying. This is the rationale for treating cancer patients with keto nutrition and intermittent fasting. Now there is an even greater urgency to reverse diabetes with LCHF nutrition: to lower a patient’s risk of cancer mortality.

We know reversing diabetes will likely result in reduced risk of dying form cardiovascular disease. Now, we have even more reason to believe it will also reduce the risk of dying from cancer.

Thanks for reading,
Bret Scher, MD FACC

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  1. Randal
    I would have led with the silver lining. People coming to this site don't need the revelation that diabetes is something you don't want.
  2. Robyn
    This is a horrible headline and unnecessarily frightening and provocative. It could have been "LCHF reduces risk of cancer mortality in patients with Type 2 Diabetes."
  3. Anne
    It is reality. The sooner the brain is aligned with reality you will do something. Perhaps watching an operation or two amputating peoples legs or feet would be preferable? There is no silver, gold, bronze, platinum, lead or copper lining for diabetes. It is a most ignored disease in the world. And that is why 52% of americans are prediabetic or have diabetes. What will be worse is governments not being able to subsidise treatment/medications in the future. RN.
  4. David
    But is it diabetes that leads to increased cancer mortality ?

    My own observations of people with diabetes is that they are avid consumers of Carbs and many will say that they need to eat carbs to balance their medication. A falicy perhaps but one that many have been told by doctors and nutritionists. Now we know that carbs are converted to Glucose in the body and we also know that some cancerous tumours feed off Glucose. Could it be that it is the consumption of carbs that leads to increased risk of dying from cancer and not diabetes itself ?

  5. RN
    I agree with Anne. Look up Charcot foot for a reality check. Very common even with moderate controlled diabetics.
  6. Sergio V
    Maybe I misread the article but it's not fully clear to me what the story really is. Is it that anyone with diabetes (even thin people) is at increased risk of obesity-related cancers, or is it people who have diabetes AND are obese. The other cancers I can understand, particularly as there have been reports about some types of insulin increasing cancer risk as well (just google the name of the insulin and cancer) - and the research does not (apparently) include whether or not the people involved were on insulin, or whether they took other medications (which in turn might increase cancer risk). Conversely, there have been reports that metformin might decrease cancer risk (debated to some degree). But once again there was no info on metformin use. Overall it is interesting to know, and hopefully might motivate to more agressively control diabetes.

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