Are Breast Cancer Survivors prone to diabetes?

Life after breast cancer isn’t an easy sail even after you are done with your treatment there are few questions that usually keep nagging in your mind as you make the transition from the beginning of breast cancer treatment to breast cancer survival. Among those entire questions one common question might be of getting diabetes post breast cancer treatment?  Here you need to understand that when the therapy stops that doesn’t mean that the after effects of therapy stop immediately.

Are Breast Cancer Survivors prone to diabetes?Some studies have revealed that breast cancer survivors, who are said to be post-menopausal, are believed to be at a greater risk for developing diabetes or we can also frame it as breast cancer survivors are prone to diabetes. Studies suggest that they should be screened for the disease more closely.

There is a growing awareness among the scientists regarding the association between diabetes and cancer to determine the incidence of diabetes among nearly 25,000 breast cancer survivors aged 55 or older. It has been observed that diabetic women above age of 60 are likely to develop breast cancer when compared to women without diabetes.
As more women survive from breast cancer, it is becoming increasingly important to understand the long-term outcomes for survivors as they grow older. However, few studies have tried to determine what the risk of developing diabetes is for a breast cancer survivor.

The team, led by Dr. Lorraine Lipscombe from Women’s College Hospital, Women’s College Research Institute, Toronto, ON, Canada), carefully examined from gathered data from Ontario in order to compare the prevalence of diabetes among females older than 55 with breast cancer (1996 to 2008) to women of the same age without the disease.

Dr Lipscombe also stated that “There is a possibility that chemotherapy treatment may figure out diabetes earlier in susceptible women. Increased weight gain has been noted in the setting for adjuvant chemotherapy for breast cancer, which may be a factor in the increased risk of diabetes in women receiving treatment.

Almost 24,976 breast cancer survivors and 124,880 controls involved in the following experiment.
The results displayed that out of all the subjects, 9.7% advanced to diabetes over an average follow-up of 5.8 years. Two years post diagnosis, the risk of diabetes among breast cancer survivors began to rise, compared to the women without cancer. After 10 years, the 7% increased risk rose to 21%.

Adjuvant chemotherapy was received by 4,404 patients, who experienced the opposite correlation. In the first two years after diagnosis, their risk for diabetes was the highest (24% increased risk compared with the control group), and then after 10 years, it reduced to 8%.

Dr Lipscombe also explained in his study that:”There is still an evidence of an association between cancer and diabetes, which may be result of few risk factors common to both conditions.

One such risk factor is insulin resistance, which incline to both diabetes and many types of cancer. Initially insulin resistance is associated with high insulin levels and there is evidence that high circulating insulin may increase the risk of cancer.  However, diabetes only occurs many years later when insulin levels start to drop. As a result it is possible that cancer risk occurs way earlier than diabetes in insulin-resistant individuals, when insulin levels are high.”

The glucocorticoid drugs used in chemotherapy to treat nausea often can also lead to pikes in blood sugar levels or may also cause acute hyperglycaemia.

The investigators say they cannot fully understand why the breast cancer survivors had a higher diabetes risk compared to the controls.

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