Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Diabetes and Cancer

Great, just great. As if we women don't have enough to deal with there is this gem on the BBC news about the link between raised blood sugar and cancer in women. It used to be thought that diabetes actually protected you from cancer. This was oh, about a hundred years ago, and the reason was that without insulin most diabetics died before they got a chance to grow any cancer cells. With better care, insulin, testing strips etc people with diabetes are living to old age and, of course, are developing cancer and other diseases that "normal" folks get.
I'm not entirely buying this study. There seem to be a lot of unanswered questions: Why women and not men for instance? And statistically the age range they tested, 40-60 years, is when you would expect to see an increase in both blood sugar and cancers anyway. After all Type II diabetes used to be known in England as the type you got with your old age pensioner bus pass.
But it's true that you can use sugar to grow some funky stuff. You should see what it does to yeast. So why not cancer cells?
The article concluded with this:
"If someone is white and over 40, or over 25 from a black or South Asian background, and has either a family history of Type 2 diabetes or is overweight, they should consider asking their doctor for the simple blood test to determine whether or not they have diabetes."
I'd actually go further. Last month there was an article about the rise in Type I diabetes in children. Maybe it's time everyone is routinely offered a free screening whenever they see their doctor.

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