High blood sugar increases pancreatic cancer rate

July 25, 2019

High blood sugar may increase the risk of pancreatic cancer, according to a study published in the Endocrine Society’s Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism.

An estimated 45,750 deaths (23,800 men and 21,950 women) will occur this year from pancreatic cancer, a disease in which healthy cells in the pancreas stop working correctly and grow out of control. The five-year survival rate for people with pancreatic cancer is only nine percent because the disease is so difficult to diagnose and is often not found until later stages when the cancer has spread from the pancreas to other parts of the body.

“Diabetes is one of the established risk factors for pancreatic cancer,” said the study’s corresponding author, Cheol-Young Park, MD, PhD, of Kangbuk Samsung Hospital in Seoul, Korea. “When we evaluated the pancreatic cancer incidence according to fasting glucose levels using a national cohort database, we found the number of pancreatic cancer cases rose as fasting glucose levels increased. This was true in people who had diabetes as well as those who did not.”

In this nationwide study, researchers evaluated pancreatic cancer incidence in Korea according to blood sugar levels using a national cohort database of more than 25 million patients. They found that as blood sugar levels rose, the rate of pancreatic cancer significantly increased not only in diabetic populations, but also in those with prediabetes or normal range of blood sugar levels.

"Our research implies that early detection of hyperglycemia in health checkups and lifestyle modification to improve glucose profile might offer a critical opportunity for lowering the risk of pancreatic cancer,” Park said.

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