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Study Links Breast Cancer & Diabetes

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A Canadian study has found an increased risk for diabetes among breast cancer survivors over 55 years of age—compared to women who have never had breast cancer. In fact, the risk for breast cancer patients has been directly traced to whether or not a woman has undergone chemotherapy.

The study, conducted by researchers at the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences and the Women’s College Research Institute in Toronto, supports and adds to previous studies that have linked diabetes and cancer. It examined diabetes incidence rates among Ontario breast cancer patients who were 55-years of age and older, and compared the findings to women of the same age who had never been diagnosed with breast cancer. The findings revealed that:

  • Breast cancer patients who had undergone chemotherapy had a 24-percent higher risk of diabetes compared to those never diagnosed with breast cancer
  • Ten years post-diagnosis, the diabetes risk for breast cancer patients dropped to 8-percent

Researchers claim that the increased risk of diabetes among breast cancer survivors could be due to many factors, including the effects of chemotherapy or hormone suppression on the women’s bodies, as well as the more sedentary lifestyle and weight gain associated with both breast cancer and chemo.

“Chemotherapy may bring out diabetes earlier in women who are susceptible for the disease,” says Lead Dr. Lorraine Lipscombe, study author. “Increased weight gain…may be a factor in the increased risk of diabetes in women receiving treatment…Estrogen suppression as a result of chemotherapy may also promote diabetes.”

Source: CTV News

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