There are many people who have diabetes, pre-diabetes or insulin resistance. Blood sugars should be tightly managed with diet, exercise and medications, if necessary. I have done diabetes education in the past, and I know that managing blood sugars is not easy. For many people, they just don’t bother. Even worse are the millions who have not been adequately educated on how to best manage blood sugars.
There are 41 million people (40% of Americans) who are thought to have prediabetes. Recent research shows that having diabetes or signs of insulin resistance may lead to an increased risk of certain cancers. If you or someone you know has problems with their blood sugars, this is another reason to get educated and figure out the best way to keep them under control. It’s also that much more important to get regular cancer screenings!
What’s the Link?
A recent study from the University of Minnesota found that women who had a diagnosis of diabetes had a 50% higher chance of developing colorectal cancer than women without the disease. This study shows a link with diabetes and cancer, however it’s not clear why there was an increased risk.
One factor that is often common between risk for prediabetes, type 2 diabetes and cancer is high body fat. It is thought that the hormonal changes caused by high body fat may lead to increased risk for cancer and diabetes. It’s unclear if high insulin levels add to this risk. We do know that tumors have insulin receptors, and that insulin plays a role in cancer. However, it doesn’t seem to be a direct link.
Diabetic Cancer Survivors
There have also been studies on diabetic cancer survivors to see if their condition affects recurrence. one study looked at post-menopausal breast cancer patients. They found that the obese participants who had the highest insulin levels at diagnosis showed significantly increase risk of disease recurrence. Once again, it’s not clear why there was increased risk.
The Bottom Line
When it comes to risk for cancer, diabetes, heart disease or just about any chronic disease, a health promoting diet, daily physical activity and low body fat is imperative. It’s also important to know that just because someone is skinny, it doesn’t mean they are healthy. There are many people who would fall into the correct weight for height but have excess body fat. If you are not physically active on a regular basis, it’s likely that your body fat is too high.
Want to know what your body fat is? There are many ways to measure it, however the MOST reliable is to get someone who knows what they are doing to use calipers and measure your skin fold at various sites on your body.
Just another reason to eat healthy and be active!