Tuesday, 31 January 2017

Pancreatic Cancer Symptoms

Pancreatic Cancer

Pancreatic cancer is hard to diagnose in its early stages as the tumour doesn't usually cause any symptoms.

The disease affects around 8,800 people every year in the UK.

Diabetic have an increased risk of pancreatic cancer - however now experts have suggested cancer can cause some cases of diabetes.

Experts have revealed the onset of diabetes, or existing diabetes getting much worse could be a sign of hidden pancreatic cancer.

Medical records and the type of diabetic medicines they are prescribed could be a tool in identifying those at risk, scientists from the International Prevention Research Institute in Lyon said.

An analysis of nearly a million patients with type 2 diabetes in Italy and Belgium with pancreatic cancer found half were diagnosed within one year of being found to have type 2 diabetes and being given their first prescription to control it.

Experts said they had a 3.5 times greater risk of being diagnosed with the disease in the first three months after their first prescription for incretins, hormones which stimulate the pancreas to produce more insulin to lower blood sugar levels.

Injecting insulin was associated with a seven-fold increased risk of being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.

Professor Philippe Autier said: "Although it has been known for some time that there is an association between type 2 diabetes and pancreatic cancer, the relationship between the two conditions is complex.

"Incretin therapies reduce diabetic hyperglycemia through stimulating the release of insulin by the pancreas.

"These drugs are typically prescribed when the oral anti-diabetic drugs can no longer control blood glucose levels.

"Because of their stimulating effects on the pancreas, it has long been thought that the incretin therapies could promote the occurrence of pancreatic cancer.”

Professor Artier said while it is known that pancreatic cancer can cause diabetes, but the study shows treatment for diabetes is often prescribed to patient whose diabetes is caused by undiagnosed cancer.

He explained: ”Because the pancreatic cancer finally becomes symptomatic and is thus diagnosed, it looks like it is the intake of incretin drugs that could be the trigger of the pancreatic cancer, while in reality, it is the pancreatic cancer that causes a deterioration of diabetes, which is followed by the prescription of incretins.

"This phenomenon is called 'reverse causation'.

"Our study also shows that the reverse causation observed for incretin drugs is also observed for other anti-diabetic therapies, in particular for insulin therapy.

"Doctors and their diabetic patients should be aware that the onset of diabetes or rapidly deteriorating diabetes could be the first sign of hidden pancreatic cancer, and steps should be taken to investigate it."



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