Diabetes and Cancer Risk


In the past few days there have been a few news reports announcing that diabetes reduces the risk of cancer among men.  Cancer is a very big concern of mine. In the last few years most of my mother’s friends have had one kind of cancer or another and only some have survived. But my fears of cancer started much earlier. My father died of Hodgkin’s lymphoma when I was 4 years old and ever since then I have worried that I would get some form of cancer. I know that Hodgkin’s disease is not hereditary, but for some reason that has never made me feel much better about it.

When diagnosed with diabetes I was so relieved it wasn’t cancer, it didn’t get me down right away (of course it did later on when I realized what I was in for).

So when I saw the headlines about diabetes reducing cancer risk, most of which didn’t specify the kind of diabetes, I was kind of happy.  Unfortunately, the flip side is that the headlines also said that diabetes increases women’s cancer risk.  And that is definitely nothing to be smiling about.

Still, it was good to read that the risk of prostate cancer was reduced by 47% in men with diabetes. This new study from Tel Aviv University has found that diabetes actually protects men from some forms of cancer.

But there is one problem. Diabetes in this study meant type 2 diabetes, and I am a type 1. Type 1 diabetics share some of the symptoms, treatments and complications with type 2 diabetics, but it is a very different condition. Whereas type 1’s produce no insulin, type 2’s usually over-produce insulin,  and this apparently causes insulin-like hormones to circulate around the body which protect men from some forms of cancer.

So I guess I haven’t found a new perk of diabetes and I still have to worry, same as before.

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