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Prostate Cancer: What It Is and Who It Affects
June 24, 2013
First, the bad news. Research tells us that Type 2 diabetes is a risk factor for several types of cancer, including breast, endometrial, colorectal, liver, and pancreatic cancer. Knowledge of the link between cancer and diabetes is actually nothing new. Back in 1910, a biostatistician made the connection between diabetes and cancer. More recently, studies have shown that diabetes does indeed increase cancer risk, likely, in part, due to the incidence of overweight and obesity, not-so-healthy food choices, and lack of sufficient physical activity (all modifiable risk factors, by the way).
Now, for the somewhat good news. The risk of prostate cancer does not appear to be influenced by Type 2 diabetes. In fact, the risk of this cancer in men with Type 2 appears to be lower than in men without diabetes. However, men with diabetes are not off the hook that easily — one study of men who had both prostate cancer and diabetes found that those who had higher A1C levels had a more aggressive type of prostate cancer. The researchers didn’t find a link between level of glucose control and the chance of the cancer spreading or recurring.
What is the prostate?
Of note, men with Type 2 diabetes are twice as likely to have low testosterone levels than men without diabetes. It may be that lower testosterone levels help reduce the risk of prostate cancer. However, low testosterone can and should be treated.
What is prostate cancer?
It’s estimated that almost 239,000 new cases of prostate cancer will be diagnosed this year and almost 30,000 men will die from it. African-American men are more likely to get and die from prostate cancer.
What are the symptoms of prostate cancer?
• Frequent urination, especially at night
Of course, these symptoms can be due to other conditions, too, such as BPH (benign prostatic hyperplasia) or prostatitis. See your doctor promptly if you have any of these symptoms to find out what’s causing them.
More on prostate cancer next week…and how you may be able to prevent it!
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