When people with Type 2 diabetes are diagnosed with cancer -- a disease for which they are at higher risk -- they ignore their diabetes care to focus on cancer treatment, according to new Northwestern Medicine® research. But uncontrolled high blood sugar is more likely to kill them and impairs their immune system's ability to fight cancer.
However, people with Type 2 diabetes who received diabetes education after a cancer diagnosis were more likely to take care of their blood sugar. As a result, they had fewer visits to the emergency room, fewer hospital admissions, lower health care costs, and they tested their blood sugar levels more often than people who didn't have the education. They also had more hemoglobin a-1c level tests at their doctor's offices. The latter is a critical marker of how well someone has managed her diabetes and blood sugar over the last three months.
"People with diabetes hear cancer and they think that it is a death sentence, so who cares about diabetes at this point?" said June McKoy, M.D., director of geriatric oncology at the Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center of Northwestern University. "But if they're not careful, it's the diabetes that will take them out of this world, not the cancer. That's why this education is so critical when cancer comes on board. Patients must take care of both illnesses."
McKoy, also an associate professor of medicine at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine and a physician at Northwestern Memorial Hospital, is the senior author of the study recently published in the journal Population Health Management. Lauren Irizarry, a fourth-year medical student at Feinberg, is the lead author.
Uncontrolled high blood sugar can result in kidney damage and failure as well as blindness and amputation of the feet as blood vessels are damaged by excess sugar. In addition, Type 2 diabetes dampens the immune system and hampers the body's ability to fight cancer.
"If you are not taking good care of your diabetes, your cancer suffers, too," added McKoy.
People with diabetes have a higher incidence of liver cancer, pancreatic cancer, colon cancer, breast cancer, bladder cancer and endometrial cancer.
For the study, researchers examined five years of health records for 166,000 commercial insurance patients and 56,000 Medicare Advantage patients. They found 65.2 percent of cancer patients who received diabetes education had their hemoglobin a-1c tested at least twice, and 88 percent had it tested at least once over three years. The numbers were significantly lower for patients who did not receive diabetes education; 48 percent of that group had hemoglobin a-1c tested twice and 78 percent had it tested once over a period of three years. Ideally, hemoglobin a-1c should be tested every four months.
The group who received diabetes education had 416 emergency room visits over three years compared to 463 who did not receive the education. In addition, the educated group had 658 hospital admissions and the uneducated had 883 admissions.
The diabetes education sessions were twice a week for four to six weeks."If you don't have the power of education, you are flailing in the wind," McKoy said. "You have to get this information and physicians really need to be information brokers for our patients. Having diabetes and then getting cancer can be overwhelming."
Marla Paul | EurekAlert!
Real-time imaging of lung lesions during surgery helps localize tumors and improve precision
30.07.2015 | American Association for Thoracic Surgery
Experimental MERS vaccine shows promise in animal studies
29.07.2015 | NIH/National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases
Using ultracold atoms trapped in light crystals, scientists from the MPQ, LMU, and the Weizmann Institute observe a novel state of matter that never thermalizes.
What happens if one mixes cold and hot water? After some initial dynamics, one is left with lukewarm water—the system has thermalized to a new thermal...
Physicists from Regensburg and Marburg, Germany have succeeded in taking a slow-motion movie of speeding electrons in a solid driven by a strong light wave. In the process, they have unraveled a novel quantum phenomenon, which will be reported in the forthcoming edition of Nature.
The advent of ever faster electronics featuring clock rates up to the multiple-gigahertz range has revolutionized our day-to-day life. Researchers and...
Researchers have developed an ultrafast light-emitting device that can flip on and off 90 billion times a second and could form the basis of optical computing.
Joint BioEnergy Institute study identifies bacterial protein that is key to protecting rice against bacterial blight
A bacterial signal that when recognized by rice plants enables the plants to resist a devastating blight disease has been identified by a multi-national team...
Researchers in the Cockrell School of Engineering at The University of Texas at Austin are one step closer to delivering smart windows with a new level of energy efficiency, engineering materials that allow windows to reveal light without transferring heat and, conversely, to block light while allowing heat transmission, as described in two new research papers.
By allowing indoor occupants to more precisely control the energy and sunlight passing through a window, the new materials could significantly reduce costs for...
23.07.2015 | Event News
10.07.2015 | Event News
25.06.2015 | Event News
31.07.2015 | Trade Fair News
31.07.2015 | Transportation and Logistics
31.07.2015 | Physics and Astronomy