As of 2015, 415 million people had diabetes worldwide and among this, Type 2 diabetes was more common, accounting to around 8% of the worldwide population. A shocking news is that India is the diabetes capital of the world with 50 million people suffering from Type 2 diabetes. Most medical research concludes that diabetes is a definite pancreatic cancer risk factor.

Pancreatic cancer risk increases if the person is diagnosed with diabetes for the first time after the age of 50. The pancreatic cancer signs and symptoms occur when the cancer moves to the advanced stages making it more risky. Keeping an eye on the asymptomatic individuals (condition or a person producing or showing no symptoms) from the onset of diabetes would help in the early diagnosis of cancer.

Early detection of pancreatic cancer is difficult?

The pancreatic cancer cannot be detected in asymptomatic individuals because of two main reasons:1. Lack of high risk group2. No specific symptoms that signifies cancer at the early stage

Pancreas and its function

Pancreas is an endocrine and exocrine gland producing several hormones and digestive enzymes. Pancreas contain 3 million cell clusters called pancreatic islets in which there are 4 kinds of cells. Among them it is the alpha and beta cells that are involved in the regulation of blood sugar level. Alpha cells increase the glucose level by secreting glucagon and Beta cells decrease the glucose cells secreting insulin.

Why does diabetes increase the risk of pancreatic cancer?

Pancreatic adenocarcinoma is the common pancreatic cancer which occurs in the exocrine pancreas while neuroendocrine tumors develop in the endocrine pancreas and are generally rare. Pancreatic cancer is caused when the cells in the pancreas multiply out of control and when the beta cells in the pancreas do not work efficiently or release insufficient insulin to balance the high glucose level. Therefore the glucose doesn’t flow to the cells and instead enters into the bloodstream which is called as hyperglycemia.

Pancreatic Cancer Symptoms

  • Yellow skin
  • Abdominal or back pain
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Light-coloured stools
  • Dark urine
  • Loss of appetite which usually show up when it has spread to other parts of the body

Precautions you can take

  1. Exercise: Exercising is the key to fight all kind of disease. Make it a point to give 30 minutes of your day for exercising as it burns the glucose in your body helping the pancreas to produce less insulin.
  2. Obesity: Findings by a study concludes that physically active person had a lesser risk of pancreatic cancer. The fat around cells block sugar released from the bloodstream to enter and therefore increases sugar levels in the blood.
  3. Diet: Avoid red and processed meat. Not only will this help with weight loss, but it may help in reducing high triglyceride levels which can be causative factors for pancreatic cancer. Diet rich in fruits and vegetables should be followed.
  4. Drinking Green tea is a remedy to prevent almost all kinds of cancers.

“An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” – Henry de Bracton.

Diabetes is become the most common threat globally, engulfing people of all ages right from teenagers to old ones. Take right measures in avoiding the onset of diabetes. Along with all the above measures, going for regular checkups with the doctor, managing your blood pressure and sugar levels and reducing your consumption of alcohol and tobacco.