Diabetes and Breast Cancer

On 08 October 2020 by Droobi

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Type 2 Diabetes may affect multiple organs in different ways, and the female breast is not an exception. Breast cancer has been shown to be more common in women with type 2 diabetes, particularly among older patients who have gone through menopause, with research showing that diabetic women are up to 20% more likely to develop postmenopausal breast cancer than older, non-diabetic women. Even survivors of breast cancer, who are post-menopausal, have a higher chance of developing diabetes.

The question is, what is the relationship between breast cancer and diabetes? According to various research, when a patient living with diabetes has a decreased level of estrogen as a result of insulin resistance, it increases the risk of developing cancer in any organ with high levels of estrogen receptors, including breast, endometrium, and ovaries. This mechanism is continuously being studied. 

Fortunately, the good news is, the same steps that you take to manage your diabetes also can help lower your breast cancer risk. But since researchers aren’t yet sure if breast cancer happens because of abnormal insulin levels, or because of the other health problems that so often accompany diabetes, like obesity, the best thing you can do if you have diabetes is make sure your blood sugar levels are under control. 

And as we stress in Droobi, diet and exercise will always remain an effective way of reducing the risk of diabetes in breast cancer patients, and vice versa. Thus, to reduce your risk of developing breast cancer, please follow these two simple steps:

1-    Eat healthy
Some of the same dietary guidelines that help keep your diabetes under control can help lower your cancer risk. 
-    Eat a plant-based diet rich in vegetables, fruits, and whole grains. 
-    Limit your intake of red meat and processed meat. 
-    Include fiber in your meals. Whole grains, vegetables and fruits are great sources of fiber.

2-    Exercise
Exercise is an important part of both cancer prevention and diabetes management. The recommendations for both are the same:
-    Aim for 150 minutes of moderate physical activity each week. 
-    Set a goal to exercise five days a week. 30min of brisk walking will be a great start. You can even break it up into three 10-minute blocks of time throughout the day. 

Although the association between breast cancer and diabetes is continuously being studied, reducing obesity, and promoting physical activity reduce the likelihood of developing either condition, and many other conditions associated with obesity and a sedentary lifestyle. Start today with a balanced diet and 30 min of exercise, this will help keep your blood sugar under control as well as your weight, keep your cardiovascular system healthy and lower you risk of getting cancer.  

It is a win-win situation! So, Start Now