Tumors are one complication anyone with or without a diagnosis of diabetes wants to prevent. According to research performed in the Department of Internal Medicine at I-Shou University in Taiwan, people who have diabetes and who have also controlled their blood sugar levels consistently, were likely to find this a good means for the prevention of tumors.
The study, reported in November 2011 in the journal Cancer Causes Control, included 2,776 volunteers who enrolled in a comprehensive health management program that included:
- fasting blood sugar levels,
- hemoglobin A1c levels, and
- screening colonoscopies.
Six hundred and five of these participants were found to have colonic tumors, 68 of which were at a high risk for becoming malignant. Among the volunteers with diabetes, both the blood sugar levels and hemoglobin A1c levels were highest in those with tumors. It was also found the highest hemoglobin A1c levels (HbA1c) were also associated with tumors.
It was concluded further research could clarify how useful hemoglobin A1c levels might be in estimating the risk for colorectal tumors.
Colon, or colorectal, cancer starts in the colon or large intestine, or rectum at the end of the colon. Besides diabetes, several other risk factors exist:
- age over 60,
- African American or eastern European descent,
- a diet high in red or processed meats,
- colorectal polyps,
- Crohn's disease or ulcerative colitis,
- a family history of colon cancer, of polyps, of colorectal cancer, of breast or other types of cancer,
- smoking and the consumption of alcohol.
Colorectal cancer can exist without symptoms, so screening should be performed for those over age 50 or who are at high risk. Signs and symptoms that can exist include:
- lower abdominal pain or tenderness,
- blood in the stool,
- constipation or diarrhea,
- narrow stools, or
- unexplained weight loss.
When colorectal cancer is found, surgery, chemotherapy, or radiation therapy can be prescribed.
1. Surgical treatment can consist of the removal of tumors or even of sections of the colon.
2. Chemotherapy can be given before surgery to shrink the tumor as much as possible for removal. Chemotherapy can be given instead of surgery:
- if the tumors are advanced to the point of being inoperable, or
- it can be given after surgery to kill any cancer cells that might not have been removed.
3. X-rays can also be used to:
- shrink tumors,
- ease symptoms, or
- kill diseased cells that have not been surgically removed.
When the disease is caught in its early stage the prognosis is good, with 74 percent of sufferers living at least 5 years after diagnosis.