In a recent study published in Gut, researchers found that type 3c diabetes or pancreatogenic diabetes, could also be an early sign of pancreatic cancer.
The finding shows that it is possible to make an earlier diagnosis of this disease by classifying patients with diabetes type 3c as a population with an increased risk of having early-stage pancreatic cancer.
The study is from the Spanish National Cancer Research Centre. One author is Núria Malats.
Type 3c, or pancreatogenic, diabetes is characterized by an inflammation of the pancreas that interrupts insulin production.
It is estimated to represent around 5 to 10% of all diabetes cases in Western countries, but currently, there are few specific markers for it so that it is often misdiagnosed as diabetes type 2.
Pancreatic cancer has a high mortality rate—around 95%—since it has no early-stage symptoms, and is usually diagnosed too late.
Diabetes and pancreatic cancer are connected because the pancreas secretes insulin; in diabetic people, this does not occur in a normal way. It is estimated that around 50% of patients with pancreatic cancer present with diabetes.
In the study, the team asked whether pancreatic cancer could cause diabetes.
They used data from more than 3,500 people to analyze the link between multiple risk factors and pancreatic cancer.
They found that pancreatic cancer is the cause of the development of diabetes type 3c in 26% of cases.
More precise markers to identify it correctly are required, not only to provide adequate treatment to patients but also because the team now shows that a correct classification is crucial for the early diagnosis of pancreatic cancer.
They say that the link between pancreatic cancer and type 2 diabetes is very complex, with obesity playing a role, too.
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