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The Link Between High Blood Sugar and Cancer

By Mary-Frances Walsh, 9:00 am on

In observance of National Diabetes Month, Home Care Assistance of Sonoma County shares the following information on the growing evidence suggesting a link between high blood sugar and cancer. Researchers are specifically focusing on people who have type 2 diabetes, a condition characterized by fluctuating blood sugar levels. The link appears strongest with kidney, colorectal, and pancreatic cancers.

High Insulin Levels

The strongest correlation between high blood sugar and cancer involves high insulin levels often associated with diabetes. One study found that women with diabetes had a 50 percent higher risk of developing colorectal cancer over women without the condition.

Prediabetics and High Blood Sugar

Prediabetics may be just as susceptible to an increased risk of developing cancer as diabetics with high blood sugar levels, suggesting a widespread need to control blood sugar levels. According to the American Diabetes Association, nearly 30 million Americans are considered prediabetic.

High Body Fat and High Blood Sugar

High body fat has already been associated with some cancers in previous studies. There’s a similar connection between high blood sugar levels and diabetics with high body fat counts. Changes in hormone levels caused by excess body fat may echo changes within the body caused by high blood sugar levels. Cancerous tumors have insulin receptors that likely play a role in how cancer develops.

Controlling Blood Sugar Levels

While more research is necessary to determine the extent of the link between high blood sugar and some cancers, managing glucose levels may decrease that risk. For diabetics and prediabetics, controlling blood sugar levels includes:

• Monitoring blood sugar levels
• Maintaining or adopting a healthy diet (without sugary snacks and drinks)
• Getting regular exercise

High blood sugar levels have been associated with an insulin-like growth factor that’s responsible for cell growth, possibly explaining a reason for the link with certain cancers. While there are other factors that contribute to cancer, the possible connection with high blood sugar provides an added incentive to keep glucose levels in check.

For information on promoting a healthy lifestyle for your senior loved one, reach out to Home Care Assistance at (707) 843.4368. As a leading provider of Parkinson’s, dementia, Alzheimer’s, and stroke care in Sonoma County, helping seniors maintain optimal wellbeing is our top priority. We look forward to speaking with you.