Diabetes Mellitus may be an early sign of pancreatic cancer

The study published by Oxford University Press found the relationship between diabetes mellitus/Type 2 diabetes and pancreatic cancer
Image for representational purpose only.
Image for representational purpose only.

WASHINGTON: According to a new study published by Oxford University Press, a recent-onset of Type-2 Diabetes or Diabetes Mellitus may be an early expression of pancreatic cancer. 

Pancreatic cancer is one of the most fatal cancers, with a five-year survival rate of only 8 per cent because the majority of pancreatic cancer patients are diagnosed at a later stage.

Diabetes is linked to both a risk factor for and a consequence of pancreatic cancer. The prevalence of diabetes among pancreatic cancer patients is unusually high as compared to other cancers.

The onset of diabetes is approx three years prior to getting diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. Among the patients undergoing pancreaticoduodenectomies (the surgical operation often used to try to remove pancreatic tumours), almost half have no diabetes postoperatively.

The researchers examined the association between recent-onset diabetes and pancreatic cancer in a prospective study of African Americans and Latinos, two minority populations with high diabetes risk.

Diabetes was found to be associated with an approximately twofold increased risk of pancreatic cancer. Importantly, the researchers demonstrated that the association of recent-onset diabetes with pancreatic cancer incidence was evident in African- Americans and Latinos.

The findings support the hypothesis that recent-onset diabetes in pancreatic cancer is a manifestation of developing pancreatic cancer.

"This striking relationship between recent-onset diabetes is unique to pancreatic cancer, and is not seen in breast, prostate and colorectal cancer in the cohort," said one of the paper's authors, Wendy Setiawan.

The study is published in Journal of the 'National Cancer Institute'. 

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The New Indian Express