The Link between Pancreatic Cancer and Diabetes


diabetes and pancreas The Link between Pancreatic Cancer and DiabetesThis is a guest post by Brian Flora

Doctors have believed for a long time that there is a link between pancreatic cancer and diabetes.

It makes sense, since both diseases affect the pancreas, and statistics appear to support a connection between the two. What is unknown is the nature of the relationship.

Does one cause the other? Are they both the results of some other common factor, such as poor diet or environmental exposure? Exploring the possible link might help in the future with diabetic and pancreatic cancer treatment and prevention.

Diabetes and Pancreatic Cancer: Which Comes First? When a patient develops pancreatic cancer, the beta cells in the pancreas are damaged, which affects the function of the pancreas and increases the likelihood that they will develop diabetes.

According to the Journal of the National Cancer Institute several studies indicated that people diagnosed with diabetes showed an increased risk of pancreatic cancer. The problem is that when pancreatic cancer is diagnosed, it is rarely known exactly how long the cancer has existed within the body, so it could again be a case of the cancer coming first and the diabetes being a side-effect.

As such, a sudden onset of diabetes could be a possible indicator of pancreatic cancer. Change Your Diet, Change Your Risk Factor Prevention of pancreatic cancer and prevention of diabetes often comes down to the same thing—diet. Healthy foods in healthy portions seem to be the key to prevention.

According to, to prevent pancreatic cancer, citrus fruits and natural citrus fruit juices are helpful as long as they don’t contain extra sugar.

Tomatoes are also good for the prevention of pancreatic cancer, and legumes, like beans and lentils, can reduce your chance of developing cancer in your pancreas by 40 percent if you eat them regularly. For diabetes, healthy fats and proteins can help to control blood sugar and keep it from spiking.

A Low-Risk Lifestyle Knowing what foods are helpful in the prevention of diabetes and pancreatic cancer, it’s fairly easy to piece together a lifestyle that will reduce your risk. First and foremost, you’ll want to include fresh fruits or vegetables with every meal. You should try to limit your intake of fatty foods like red meat and dairy products and unnecessary sugars.

Portion control is important, too; if you’re someone who always has to clean their plate at dinner, try a smaller plate. If you must snack between meals, stay with the healthy snacks like fruits and nuts. For drinks, avoid alcohol and soda; stick with fruit juices and water. Exercise should be part of any healthy lifestyle plan, as well.

Try to get in at least 30 minutes of exercise most days, even if it’ just walking. The links between pancreatic cancer and diabetes may not yet be completely understood, but all appearances are that there is a connection between the two diseases. Both diseases are destructive and life changing, but both diseases may also be preventable through healthy lifestyle choices.

A healthy diet rich in natural foods like fresh fruits and vegetables coupled with regular exercise is the most effective means of prevention in both cases, and can improve one’s quality of life overall.

Brian Flora is a firm believer in the importance of maintaining a healthy lifestyle. The healthier you are, chances are daily outlook on life will improve as well. Check out my blog at for other helpful health related articles.

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