Pancreatic cancer and diabetes – a cellular case of chicken and egg
We’ve all heard the age-old question about the chicken and the egg.
Well scientists studying the link between diabetes (a condition where the amount of glucose in your blood is too high because the body cannot use it properly) and pancreatic cancer are facing a similar conundrum. It seems there’s a link between the two conditions, but it’s not clear which one comes first.
While the majority of people with diabetes will never develop pancreatic cancer, the question of whether diabetes could be a cause or a consequence of pancreatic cancer is an important one.
Answering this could help scientists better understand the biology of these two conditions, and might help spot people at higher risk of pancreatic cancer.
So, as it’s pancreatic cancer awareness month, we’ve dug into the evidence to see what is known about these links, and which questions remain unanswered.
We know there’s a link
Doctors first started exploring the possibility of a link between diabetes and pancreatic cancer in the 1940s and 1950s.
Several reports had come out saying that patients with pancreatic cancer were more likely to also have diabetes than other people. This has been shown for type 2 diabetes as well as type 1 and young onset diabetes.
Since then, many studies have shown a link between the two conditions. Overall, it seems that people with diabetes are around twice as likely to be diagnosed with pancreatic cancer than the general population.
And this makes sense, given that diabetes and pancreatic cancer are diseases that both affect the pancreas.
The next big question is: how does t Continue reading