Breast cancer patients with diabetes ‘50pc more likely to die’

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

WASHINGTON - A comprehensive review of research, conducted by Johns Hopkins physicians, has found that breast cancer patients are nearly 50 percent more likely to die of any cause if they also have diabetes.

The authors also found that diabetics tend to be diagnosed with later-stage breast cancers and to receive altered, potentially less effective treatment regimens.

“When patients are faced with a diagnosis of breast cancer, which they see as an imminent threat to their lives, diabetes care often goes on the back burner,” said study leader Kimberly S. Peairs.

“This research suggests we may need to proactively treat the diabetes as well as the cancer,” she said.

Peairs and her team conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis of previously published research on breast cancer and diabetes, ultimately looking in depth at 8 studies.

In 6 of 7 studies of breast cancer patients, preexisting diabetes was associated with significantly higher long-term, all-cause mortality.

Peairs says her research suggests that diabetics diagnosed with breast cancer may get less effective treatment because practitioners may be concerned about these patients suffering more side effects from chemotherapy or radiation treatments as a result of the metabolic condition.

Patients also may be more likely to be hospitalized, get infections, and/or become anemic complicating their care.

Peairs says the higher death rate may also be linked to the fact that they come to breast cancer treatment less healthy than their counterparts without diabetes, which is associated with obesity, high cholesterol and high blood pressure.

The findings have been published in the January issue of the Journal of Clinical Oncology. (ANI)

Filed under: Diabetes

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