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A Look at Diabetes and Cancer on World Health Day

  • 04.08.2016


World Health Day

April 7 is World Health Day, honoring the foundation of the World Health Organization on the same day in 1948. Every year, WHO selects a health topic that affects people in all corners of the world, and brings light to the issues at hand. This year’s focus is on diabetes.

According the WHO, 350 million people have diabetes worldwide. In Nevada, it is estimated that 258,472 people have the disease—that’s 12.1% of the state’s population.

As healthcare professionals, this number is alarming, especially given the steep trajectory of the disease’s occurrence in the state (and the world). As oncology specialists, what’s even more concerning is the apparent link between diabetes and cancer.

The Link Between Diabetes and Cancer

A 2014 study in Australia, which included more than 950,000 participants, showed that cancer rates were higher in people with diabetes. The same study showed that certain cancers were more prevalent in diabetic patients, including kidney, liver, thyroid, pancreas and gallbladder cancers, to name a few.

Researchers conducted the survey because they noticed a rise in the incidence of diabetes and cancer, separately. They set out to prove that people with diabetes were at an increased risk of cancer. The study indeed proved their theory. Given that both diseases share some of the same risk factors including obesity, age, inactivity and blood sugar levels – the results of the study are not surprising.

Lower Rates of Diabetes and Cancer Deaths in Nevada

Approximately 90% of diabetes cases are type 2, which is in large part preventable. It stands to reason that with lifestyle changes, including diet, exercise and a healthy body weight, people can not only reduce their risk of diabetes, but also their risk of cancer.

More good news: out of all 50 states, Nevada ranks 42nd in cancer deaths, and 49th in diabetes deaths as of 2013. Though living in Nevada by itself doesn’t lower your specific risk, we must be doing something right.

One example of ‘doing something right’ in Nevada is the State’s passing of Senate Bill No. 27. The bill, which went into effect on July 1, 2011, requires employees of childcare facilities to complete training to promote physical activity and nutrition, setting standards for generations to come.

Get Active, Nevadans!

First of all, live a healthy lifestyle to lower your risk of diabetes and cancer—a two-for-one deal. Secondly, for Nevadans living with diabetes, it is even more important to get screened for cancer, and to do it more often than those who do not have diabetes. Should you develop cancer, your vigilance can lead to an earlier diagnosis and a more successful treatment, giving you the best chance to beat cancer.

Happy World Health Day. Now get out there and be healthy!



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