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Diabetes Tied to Worse Outcomes When Colon Cancer Strikes
  • Posted October 27, 2023

Diabetes Tied to Worse Outcomes When Colon Cancer Strikes

Having diabetes and colon cancer together can raise the risk of dying early, particularly for patients with diabetic complications, a new study shows.

To arrive at that conclusion, researchers from National Taiwan University examined data for more than 59,000 people from the Taiwan Cancer Registry Database from 2007 to 2015. The database is linked to health insurance and death records.

Patients had colon cancer that was between stage 1 and stage 3, and they had received potentially curative surgery to remove their tumors. Among these patients, more than 9,400 experienced a cancer recurrence and 21,000 died from any cause during the study period.

The findings were published online Oct. 23 in the journal Cancer.

“While a higher diabetes prevalence was noted in patients with colorectal cancer, the study suggests that coordinated medical care involving multiple specialists can help prevent diabetes complications, potentially improving long-term colorectal cancer oncological outcomes, particularly in women and patients with early-stage cancer,” lead researcher Dr. Kuo‐Liong Chien said in a journal news release.

Compared to individuals without diabetes, those with uncomplicated diabetes were at a minimally or insignificantly higher risk of all‐cause and cancer‐specific death. But those with complicated diabetes had 85% higher odds of death from any cause and 41% higher odds of death from cancer.

These associations were more pronounced in women and in patients with early‐stage colon cancer, the investigators found.

The reasons for these outcomes could involve various pathways and responses that are triggered by high insulin and blood sugar levels, according to the study. It could also include elevated inflammatory states, which are characteristic of type 2 diabetes.

Having diabetes can also lead to impaired vision, nerve damage, kidney dysfunction and heart disease.

More information

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has more on colon cancer.

SOURCE: Cancer, news release, Oct. 23, 2023

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