Juggling diabetes and cancer
Since then, she has learned to manage the disease, diligently taking her medicine and keeping tabs on her blood sugar. But in September, she was told she had skin cancer, and her diabetes spun out of control.
Gray started an aggressive course of treatment that included radiation therapy. But the treatments weakened her and destroyed her appetite. Unable to eat, she developed dangerously low blood-sugar levels, and about two months ago, her daughter had to rush her to a hospital.
“She found me in bed shaking and sweating,” said Gray, who is 62 and lives in Durham. “When I got to the hospital, they couldn’t understand how I was still standing.”
Cancer and diabetes are two of the leading killers in America. Each can be a devastating diagnosis in its own right, but researchers are finding that the two often occur together. By some estimates, as many as one in five cancer patients also has diabetes.
In a recent joint report, the American Cancer Society and the American Diabetes Association noted that people with Type 2 diabetes have an increased risk of developing cancers of the liver, pancreas, colon and bladder. Researchers with the National Cancer Institute released a similar report last year, which found greater rates of cancer among diabetics, as well as an elevated risk of dying from cancer.
Experts say it is clear from accumulating clinical data that the two share some biological links. The problem
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