Contributed by Dr. Jitendra Pahlajani, Medical Oncology, HCG Cancer Centre Jaipur
Diabetes and cancer are fatal diseases that frequently co-exist. Both can be challenging to deal with on their own. Battling both diseases at the same time may add even more stress to life. Studies have reported an increased risk of cancer diagnosis in patients with diabetes. The tumour or cancer therapies can cause uncontrolled sugar levels in diabetic patients. These uncontrolled sugars lead to a greater risk of mortality for many malignancies.
The management of diabetes in cancer patients is often complicated by various factors. The treating physicians have to consider a lot of factors such as what level of glycaemic control is helpful, which therapy to use, how to deal with therapies, patient’s dietary needs, how diabetes complications can affect cancer management and drug interactions, etc.
It is important to carefully manage the disease during and after cancer treatment if you have diabetes. One may be more focused on managing a cancer diagnosis, but diabetes care is very critical to health and can affect the success of a treatment plan. During treatment, the focus should be on cancer treatment with euglycemia ,Thus it is important to manage diabetes as well to ensure your body can tolerate and benefit from chemotherapy, radiation, or other modalities.
Can cancer treatment affect blood sugar levels?
The type of cancer treatment offered plays a major role in managing diabetes during treatment. chemotherapy therapy can cause hyperglycemia, an increase in blood sugar levels. This must be monitored carefully as hyperglycemia may lead to dehydration and strain organs and immune system. Taking extra care to manage blood sugar levels can help stay hydrated and feel better during treatment. Uncontrolled blood sugar levels also can have a negative impact on other organs. Monitoring blood sugar levels can help keep them healthy during cancer treatment.the euglycemia achieved by diet and anti diabetic drugs is associated with better outcomes.
How can cancer patients with diabetes improve their health?
If you have Type II diabetes or pre-diabetes (high risk for developing diabetes), try to manage it through diet. As your diet allows, focus on a healthy eating plan that is rich in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains and low in fat and calories. You can help keep your blood sugar level in a safe range by ensuring there is a balance of these foods in your diet throughout the day.
Follow the tips listed below
Try to understand requirements of diet and lifestyle modifications and how it may impact your cancer treatment. This will help to take better care of yourself and reduce diabetes complications.
Maintain a healthy diet. Consume a lot of vegetables, fruits, and whole grains. Limit the intake of red meat and processed foods you eat. Watch out for your portion sizes.
Exercise regularly and stay fit. Aim for moderate physical activity or vigorous exercise every day.
For prevention Limit your alcohol intake. It is high in calories and sugar. Research shows that heavy drinking can damage cells and lead to cancer.
Monitor your blood sugar. Managing blood sugars within the target range may help in preventing infection, nausea, fatigue, and other challenges.
Managing stress is very important. Dealing with cancer can be stressful and its treatments can cause your body to release various hormones that increase blood sugar. This can weaken the immune system. Stress management strategies can help one feel more relaxed and less anxious.
Make healthy lifestyle choices. In addition to staying on track with plans for managing sugars, eating healthy, and reducing stress, as you’re undergoing cancer treatment, it is important to avoid smoking and using recreational drugs. This will help in keeping blood sugars under control and enables your body to heal during cancer treatment.
Remember, if you have diabetes, the best thing you can do is to make sure your blood sugar levels are under control. Discuss your health problems with family and friends and others who are in similar situations. Thus, the management remains a fine balance of dietary intake and therapies to control sugar levels among cancer patients with diabetes. This will result in a decrease in mortality and morbidity of patients. While there is no doubt a cancer diagnosis can be scary, it’s important to remember to take care of both diseases for the best results when you also have diabetes with the help of specialists.