Pancreatic Cancer Chasing Diabetes Link
Pancreatic Cancer Chasing Diabetes Connection: Diabetes and pancreatic cancer affect the same organ, but they have more in common than just their place. Individuals who have one of those conditions are also more likely to have another one.
Approximately 30 million Americans have diabetes. Pancreatic cancer diagnosed in almost 54,000 people annually, and it is the third-leading cause of premature death. Most individuals aren’t diagnosed until their cancer has already spread and is more difficult to deal with.
Researchers have been studying the connection between diabetes and pancreatic cancer for several years. Now they are trying to use this link to diagnose pancreatic cancer earlier. When treatment is more likely to increase survival.
The Diabetes-Pancreatic Cancer Link
Diabetes is both a risk for and a warning signal of, pancreatic cancer. “The connection goes both ways,” says Lynn Matrisian, Phd, chief science officer of the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network.
Researchers do not know exactly why. But people who have had diabetes for many years are somewhat more likely to get pancreatic cancer compared to those without diabetes.
Pancreatic cancer may also cause diabetes. Approximately half of people with pancreatic cancer have elevated blood glucose. After cancer surgically removed, blood glucose levels often return to normal.
“In longstanding diabetes, the diabetes arrived first. In new-onset diabetes that is accompanied by pancreatic cancer after a couple of years. Diabetes could be a sign of pancreatic cancer. That is why there’s a chance to intervene,” says Richard Frank, MD, a medical oncologist, and director of cancer research at Western Connecticut Health Network.
Frank and other researchers are searching for ways to identify pancreatic cancer early in individuals with recently diagnosed diabetes.
How to Display for Pancreatic Cancer in People with Diabetes
Pancreatic cancer often has vague symptoms or no symptoms in its early phases. “It is back pain and stomach upset. So plenty of times people think of other things first, until they eventually say, ‘Perhaps we ought to check for pancreatic cancer,’ ” Matrisian states. Because of this, most pancreatic cancers are not diagnosed until they have already spread.
Doctors usually find pancreatic cancer using imaging tests like CT and MRI scans, and endoscopic ultrasound. Testing everybody with diabetes using these approaches would be too costly and impractical, Matrisian says. What physicians need is a means to recognize and screen only men and women who have the greatest chances of getting pancreatic cancer.
Suresh Chari, MD, a professor of medicine at the Mayo Clinic College of Medicine, has studied the link between pancreatic cancer and diabetes for several years. He has found that people that are newly diagnosed with diabetes after age 50 have about a 1 percent likelihood of getting pancreatic cancer — a speed that’s eight times greater than in the general population.
Now he is working with the National Cancer Institute (NCI) on a 5-year research to identify individuals with new-onset diabetes that has a higher-than-normal prospect of getting pancreatic cancer. The analysis will include about 10,000 individuals with high blood glucose, who will have blood tests every 6 weeks.
“We’re taking a look at finding ways to screen for pancreatic cancer, either in all of these or a subset of these,” he says.
The analysis will also identify biomarkers — signs of pancreatic cancer in the bloodstream — which could be used to think of new screening tests.
Frank is doing a similar study with about 800 diabetes sufferers.
“The objective is ultimately to have the ability to spot, though a blood test, those people with diabetes that are at the highest risk of pancreatic cancer, and then to place those individuals to a screening program such as a yearly MRI,” he says.
Eventually, it may even be possible to screen people with prediabetes. “It is logical that the further back you go, the sooner you will grab the tumor,” Chari says.
Warning Signs for Individuals with Diabetes
People with diabetes do not have to worry about getting cancer, but they ought to be more aware. “The chance is that less than one % will have pancreatic cancer,” Frank says. “And the best risk of pancreatic cancer is in the first 1 to 2 years following the diagnosis.”
During this time, he suggests staying awake for any symptoms that could be pancreatic cancer. Like unexplained weight loss, changes in bowel habits, or bloating. “When they have those mild symptoms and they’ve new-onset diabetes, they ought to speak with their physician. They should also know their family history. When there’s cancer in the family, they ought to speak to a genetic counselor,” he says.
“Basically, being your own advocate is that which we can recommend at the moment. While we do the research and find out if we could find a test which may help diagnose pancreatic cancer before,” Matrisian states.
Reviewed by Brunilda Nazario, MD on November 20, 2017, at Internet Medical