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Does using insulin for diabetes increase the risk for cancer?

There is an increasing amount of evidence that diabetes is linked to a higher incidence of many cancers. Liver, pancreas, endometrial, colorectal, breast, and bladder cancers are more common in diabetics than in the general population. However, there is a decreased amount of prostate cancer in diabetics. The biological reason for this has not been identified as of yet.

It's an unfortunate downside that's linked to a very important drug: People who inject insulin to manage their blood sugar and control diabetes have an increased risk for some types of cancer. In particular, a 2011 study found that people who use insulin increase their chances of developing pancreatic cancer by 88 percent. Combining insulin with diabetes pills increases the risk even more.

Let's be clear about one thing: For people with type 1 diabetes, there is no question that the benefits of using insulin far outweigh any risks. But with the more common form of the disease, type 2 diabetes, insulin therapy is only necessary when diet, exercise and oral drugs no longer keep blood sugar in the safe zone. In other words, whether or not you ever require insulin is, in large part, up to you. So count cutting your cancer risk as another reason to lace up those walking shoes and swap that donut for some oatmeal.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.