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Baby Boomer Diabetes Increases Pancreatic Cancer Risks Eightfold

You probably get tired of my reminders about optimizing your health to prevent diabetes, a largely avoidable disease that has been found most recently to ignite a host of problems, including nerve damage, blindness and serious cardiovascular complications. Add a higher incidence of pancreatic cancer, one of the more devastating cancers around, to that list.

In newly diagnosed diabetics over age 50, 1 out of 120 patients will develop pancreatic cancer -- more than eight times the risk expected for the general population. The basis for the study: A dispute over type 2 diabetes patients being predisposed to pancreatic cancer or if the presence of diabetes was an indicator of it.

Because pancreatic cancer is so powerful and nearly impossible to detect except in the advanced stages, the prognosis for most patients is usually dismal at best. Mayo Clinic researchers conducted a population-based study on more than 2,000 Minnesota patients, age 50 and older, diagnosed with diabetes between 1950-95 to evaluate the usefulness of using new-onset diabetes as an underlying marker for pancreatic cancer.

Over the course of the study, 18 patients were found to have pancreatic cancer within three years. Although study findings show older patients have less than a 1 percent chance of having pancreatic cancer as the cause of their diabetes, they are still considered a high-risk group for developing it. Why? Pancreatic cancer is more common in people with diabetes, with the greatest risk existing in the first five years after diagnosis. According to the American Diabetes Association, more than 18 percent of the U.S. population over age 60 has diabetes. And, older Americans are more prone to develop pancreatic cancer: Almost all patients are over age 50.

A simple three-step plan that will help to eliminate your risk of diabetes:

EurekAlert August 1, 2005

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