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Breast Cancer, Diabetes, & Outcomes

Diabetes and cancer are major causes of illness and death worldwide. The CDC has released a report showing that the prevalence of diabetes has increased to 25.8 million in America, or 8.3% of the national population. It’s estimated that 2.5 million of these individuals are survivors of breast cancer. Research has shown that diabetes increases the risk of breast cancer. Furthermore, two of the major risk factors for type 2 diabetes—older age and obesity—have also been associated with breast cancer. A concern for physicians managing patients who have diabetes and are diagnosed with breast cancer is that care for the preexisting diabetes often goes on the back burner; the breast cancer takes center stage. Patients may sometimes view their breast cancer diagnosis as a greater threat to their lives than their diabetes. Alarming Data on Breast Cancer-Diabetes Relationship In order to better understand the relationship between breast cancer and diabetes, my colleagues and I conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis of previous research. Published in the January 2011Journal of Clinical Oncology, our investigation looked in depth at eight studies involving patients with preexisting diabetes and breast cancer outcomes. Six of the studies reported a risk estimate effect on all-cause mortality in patients with breast cancer. We then qualitatively summarized other prognostic outcomes. When compared with those who did not have diabetes, women with breast cancer and preexisting diabetes had a 49% greater risk of death. “When compared with those who did not have diabetes, women with breast cancer and preexisting diabetes had a 49% greater risk of death.” Another important finding from our research was that three of four...
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