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Women with Type 2 Diabetes More Likely to Develop, Less Likely to Survive, Breast Cancer

shutterstock_566126797Two studies published recently report on the link between Type 2 diabetes and breast cancer.

One study led by A.L. Ronco of Pereira Rossell Women’s Hospital in Montevideo, Uruguay, showed that women who were obese and had Type 2 diabetes related to obesity were 9 times as likely to develop breast cancer. The other study, led by Wei-Wu Chen of National Taiwan University Hospital, Yun-Lin Branch in Yunlin, Taiwan, breast cancer patients with Type 2 diabetes were up to 71% more likely to have a shorter survival period.

Overall, a personal history of diabetes was associated with 64 percent higher risk for breast cancer and among postmenopausal women, the risk was increased by 92 percent, compared to those who did not have diabetes.

Type 2 diabetes is associated with other types of cancer risk, as well. In many patients with Type 2 diabetes, there is an increased risk of cancers of the bladder, liver, pancreas, uterine lining, and colon. In some cases, the risk of developing one of these cancers is 20 to 50 percent greater when the patient has Type 2 diabetes.

Cancer and diabetes have some similar risk factors. Poor diet, lack of exercise, and smoking are all linked to increased risks for developing both conditions. Also, being overweight or obese increases the risk of developing both cancer and diabetes, as fat tissue can act very much like an endocrine gland and release hormone-like substances in the body, which can play a role in turning normal cells into cancerous cells.

The Taiwan study emphasized the importance of healthy diet and exercise in improving survival rates for early-stage breast cancer patients. “In Asian patients with early-stage breast cancer, DM is an independent predictor of lower BCS (breast cancer specific survival) and OS (overall survival) rates, even after adjusting for other comorbidities. The integration of DM care as part of the continuum of care for early-stage breast cancer should be emphasized.” The American Diabetes Association’s website states much the same thing.

Interestingly, the Type 2 diabetes drug metformin might be able to suppress some types of cancers. Breast, colon, and prostate cancer have all been linked to too much insulin in the body, but research in 2006, which has been followed up on in several studies presented this spring, suggests that metformin works by increasing the activity of an enzyme which suppressed tumors. These findings are very encouraging, as metformin is a safer drug to treat Type 2 diabetes anyway. Two of the most popular diabetes drugs, Actos and Avandia, have been linked to increased risks of liver failure and heart disease, and Actos has been found to increase the risk of macular edema, as well as dramatically increase the risk of bladder cancer. Takeda Pharmaceuticals is facing thousands of lawsuits because of the link between Actos and bladder cancer.

If you or a loved one have been diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes, it is important to speak candidly with your doctor about options to control the disease, including the safety of any drugs you will be prescribed. If you have been prescribed Actors or Avandia and have suffered dangerous side effects, you may be entitled to compensation from the manufacturers. The experienced personal injury attorneys at Strom Law, LLC, can help. We offer free consultations to evaluate the facts of your case, so contact us today. 803.252.4800.



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