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Diabetes Watch Blog: High Insulin level may lead to Pancreatic cancer

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Dec 14, 2005

High Insulin level may lead to Pancreatic cancer

High Insulin level may lead to Pancreatic cancer
A new study finding suggests association between higher insulin levels and insulin resistance and thus connecting type-2 diabetes and pancreatic cancer.

Researcher have long recognized the relationship between diabetes and pancreatic cancer, but it was not clear until now if diabetes was the cause or result of pancreatic cancer or merely represented a general risk factor that may increase the risk of both diabetes and pancreatic cancer.

To find answers, Dr. Rachael Z. Stolzenberg-Solomon and colleagues conducted a study that included data from the Alpha-Tocopherol, Beta-Carotene Cancer Prevention Study. The findings are reported in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Within 5 years of follow-up, 169 patients developed pancreatic cancer. These subjects were compared with a random sample of 400 subjects without a cancer diagnosis. All of the subjects were male smokers between ages 50 of 69 years old, who were then followed for up to 16.7 years.

After the effects of age, years of smoking, and body mass index were considered, the researchers found that higher levels of glucose (blood sugar), insulin, and insulin resistance correlated with increasing risk of pancreatic cancer, the authors report.

Subjects diagnosed with diabetes and those with the highest insulin levels had twice the risk of developing pancreatic cancer. The length and the design of the study indicates that increased insulin levels and insulin resistance were the consequence of pancreatic cancer, Dr. Stolzenberg-Solomon and her colleagues add.

"Lifestyle changes to decrease glucose and insulin concentrations through weight reduction, increasing physical activity, and diet, such as decreasing saturated fat intake, ....could possibly impact pancreatic cancer development," they suggest.


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Type-2 Diabetes
Type-2 diabetes is the most common form of diabetes, accounting for 90% of cases diabetes. This disease affects nearly 17 million Americans and is the seventh leading cause of death in the United States. Even though 17 million Americans have type-2 diabetes only half of these people are aware that they have diabetes. The death rate in patients with diabetes may be up to 11 times higher than in persons without the disease. The occurrence of diabetes in persons 45 to 64 years of age is 7 percent, but the proportion increases significantly in persons 65 years of age or older. Type-2 diabetes accounts for more than 90% of all diabetes worldwide.

Diabetes Watch Blog: High Insulin level may lead to Pancreatic cancer

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