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Pancreatic Cancer may be linked to Diabetes

by Medindia Content Team on  May 27, 2002 at 5:07 PM General Health News   - G J E 4
Pancreatic Cancer may be linked to Diabetes
According to researchers, a new study strongly propose that diabetes newly diagnosed in people above 50 years, may be a sign of underlying early-stage pancreatic cancer. Older patients whose diabetes began late in life were 10 times more likely to be diagnosed with pancreatic cancer within three years following onset of diabetes.In the study, the link appeared especially pronounced for people in their 70s when diabetes first appeared.
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Dr. Suresh T. Chari, of the Mayo Clinic in Rochester,in his theory, told that if one can pinpoint this form of diabetes, then you could pick a patient you identify for pancreatic cancer early before they have symptoms. This becomes an indicator for further diagnosis.

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Chari and others were careful to note that the research does not suggest diabetes causes the cancer, but instead said it presents further evidence that the pancreatic cancer is likely already established and the cancer may actually cause the diabetes. He told that he had already begun using the term "pancreatic cancer-induced diabetes" to emphasize the point.

However, not all late-onset cases of diabetes are associated with pancreatic cancer. The great majority, perhaps 90 percent, are the relatively common type 2 form with no association to cancer. The diabetes that is linked to cancer occurs in about one out of a hundred cases of late-onset diabetes. The cases used for the study came from the Rochester Epidemiology Program, funded by the National Institutes of Health. Researchers identified patients with late-onset diabetes in Rochester, between 1970 and 1996 and followed them for three years to see who developed pancreatic cancer.

Investigators found 1,050 new diabetes cases in people age 40 and older. Of those, 21 developed pancreatic cancer within three years. Based on normal national data, Chari said, one would expect to find just two cases instead of 21. He said the diabetes-pancreatic cancer link was even more pronounced in patients in their 70s.

Dr. Keeffe, chairman of Digestive Disease Week and chief of hepatology at Stanford University Medicine Center in Palo Alto. This sounds like an excellent study that attests hints of this in the past. It appears to provide scientific strength to clues that we've had over the years regarding this relationship. Physicians will need to be on notice to begin testing more routinely for pancreatic cancer in cases late-onset diabetes, Keeffe said.

Dr. Cynthia Yoshida, of the University of Virginia, told, "most clinicians knew this intuitively," but the study added a critical time and age element. She noted the mean time from diagnosis of diabetes to diagnosis of pancreatic cancer was only 7 months, and many of the cases occurred in people in their 70s. That kind of information will help physicians remain alert to the possibility of pancreatic cancer in that age group whenever they see a new case of diabetes.

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