Women with breast cancer who also have diabetes have 50% more chances of dying from any cause, say researchers from the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. Generallydiabetics tend to be diagnosed with later-stage breast cancers and therefore receive altered or potentially less effective treatment from fear that chemotherapy and radiation might cause more side effects. Such patients are also more likely to be hospitalized, more prone to infections or become anemic further complicating their case.
6 out of 7 studies revealed that women with pre-existing diabetes had higher rates of death from all causes. This made the scientists believe that especially in the presence of breast cancer, diabetes poses unknown dangers. Diabetes is also associated with several risk factors like high cholesterol, obesity and hypertension. Several questions have been raised about whether diabetes drugs help or harm patients with breast cancer. However further studies have to be conducted in this area. An example cited by scientists is that the diabetes drug metformin might improve breast cancer survival.
Assistant professor of medicine and study leader Kimberly S. Peairs explains, "When patients are faced with a diagnosis of breast cancer, which they see as an imminent threat to their lives, diabetes care often goes on the back burner. The findings suggest poor blood sugar control might play a role that leads to higher risk of dying for diabetic women with breast cancer."