How Diabetes Can Increase Cancer Risk

Type-2 diabetes is a lifestyle disorder marked by high blood sugar levels in the body, and India is known as the diabetes capital of the world.

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Functional Nutritionist & Certified Diabetes Educator, Madhavi Karmokar Sharma

In the past, it was observed that those suffering from diabetes, in several cases, also eventually got cancer. However, the link between the two was not clearly established. Recent research has now shown that patients with diabetes are at a higher risk than those without diabetes, of developing certain types of cancers.

Diabetes and cancer are two intricate, varied, deep-rooted, and likely deadly diseases.  Type-2 diabetes is a lifestyle disorder marked by high blood sugar levels in the body, and India is known as the diabetes capital of the world.

Cancer is a disease in which body cells affected, grow uncontrollably, spreading to other regions as well. The metabolic status of a person with diabetes, the elevated blood sugar levels, excessive weight, the undernourished cells in the body, the pancreatic load are some of the reasons that are attributed towards the overall cancer incidence. More specifically the cancers of the colon, rectum, breast, endometrium, pancreas, kidney, liver, gall bladder and adenocarcinoma of esophagus. 

What’s the link between Diabetes and Cancer?

  1. It is now understood that the elevated cancer risk for diabetics arises from the hormonal dysregulation. In order to combat the issue of insulin resistance in people with diabetes, the pancreas make more and more insulin, and thus a state of hyperinsulinemia exists in the body. Insulin, in addition to controlling increased blood sugar levels, also can stimulate cell growth, possibly leading to cancer.
  2. It is also postulated the elevated blood glucose levels could harm DNA, making the genes unstable, and this could lead to cancer. High blood sugars also prevent the process of fixing it, thus aggravating the problem.
  3. It is generally seen that most people with Type-2 diabetes are overweight. The fat cells are metabolically active and generate hormones that cause inflammation in the body. This inflammation is also linked to the incidence of cancers.

What can you do about it?

A healthy lifestyle comes to the rescue. Not only can it help stabilize blood sugar levels and improve insulin sensitivity, but it has also helped much reverse diabetes.  Following a healthy diet, with enough fibre, low GI foods, lean protein and anti-inflammatory fats hold the key to regulating blood sugar levels.

Consistent workouts help in combating insulin resistance and in weight loss. Choose a workout that you enjoy doing and stick to it for 30-40 minutes on the majority of the days. You could also benefit from small duration workouts. For example, 10-15 minutes of walk 30 minutes post a meal helps to support digestion and insulin response to the consumed meal. This also keeps postprandial sugars in check. The activity ensures proper oxygenation of cells and transport of nutrients to keep cells in their optimum health.

Proper sleep is the greatest de-stressor. It provides the body the time to heal, repair and regenerate. This helps fight inflammation and is deeply rejuvenating.

Give lifestyle a chance and see it transform your life.

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