Dear Dr. Mirkin,
Does diabetes increase cancer risk?
Answer: The largest study ever on cancer risks of people who have diabetes and can still make insulin shows that they are at increased risk for 24 different cancers (Oncologist, May 2010). The greatest risks are for pancreatic cancer (six times) and liver cancer (4.25 times). They had double the average risk for cancers of the kidneys, thyroid, esophagus, small intestine, and the nervous system, and were also at increased risk for cancers of the mouth, colon, rectum, lung, cervix, endometrium, and ovary. Male diabetics have a much lower rate of prostate cancer, presumably because they have lower blood levels of testosterone. Diabetes damages every cell in the body, including the testicles, which produce testosterone.
Diabetes is caused either by lack of insulin (Type 1) or by inability to respond to insulin (Type 2). Those whose cells cannot respond adequately to insulin usually have very high levels of insulin, which promote cell growth, and uncontrolled cell growth is cancer. One of three Americans suffers from the type of diabetes caused by inability to respond to insulin and therefore are at high risk for many different cancers. They can prevent and cure diabetes and reduce their chances for cancer by:
- losing weight
- growing muscle
- getting rid of fat
- avoiding refined carbohydrates (sugar water, sugar and flour)
- avoiding red meat
- avoiding vitamin D deficiency
- eating plenty of vegetables and fruits
A practicing physician for more than 40 years and a radio talk show host for 25, Dr. Mirkin is a graduate of Harvard University and Baylor University College of Medicine. He is one of a very few doctors board-certified in four specialties: Sports Medicine, Allergy and Immunology, Pediatrics and Pediatric Immunology.
Dr. Mirkin's latest book is The Healthy Heart Miracle, published by HarperCollins. His daily short features on fitness have been heard on CBS Radio News stations since the 1970's.
He has written 16 books including The Sportsmedicine Book, the best-selling book on the subject that has been translated into many languages. Dr. Mirkin did his residency at the Massachusetts General Hospital and over the years he has served as a Teaching Fellow at Johns Hopkins Medical School, Assistant Professor at the University of Maryland, and Associate Clinical Professor in Pediatrics at the Georgetown University School of Medicine.
Read more at www.drmirkin.com.
Latest posts by Dr. Gabe Mirkin (see all)
- Making a Move to Avoid Diabetes and Heart Attacks - September 5, 2011
- Diet Don’ts and Diverticulitis? - August 10, 2011
- The Cooking Method that Could Lead to Cancer and Heart Disease - August 3, 2011