Diabetes 'ups death risk in cancer surgery patients'

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Washington, March 29 (ANI): A new study by Johns Hopkins researchers has revealed that diabetics who undergo cancer surgery are more likely to die in the month following their operations than those who have cancer but not diabetes.

In the study, researchers found that newly diagnosed cancer patients - particularly those with colorectal or esophageal tumors - who also have Type 2 diabetes have a 50 percent greater risk of death following surgery.

"Diabetic patients, their oncologists and their surgeons should be aware of the increased risk when they have cancer surgery," says Hsin-Chieh "Jessica" Yeh, assistant professor of general internal medicine and epidemiology at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, and one of the study's leaders.

"Care of diabetes before, during and after surgery is very important. It should be part of the preoperative discussion.

"When people are diagnosed with cancer, the focus often is exclusively on cancer, and diabetes management may be forgotten. This research suggests the need to keep a dual focus," Yeh added.

The findings are based on a systematic review and meta-analysis of 15 previously published medical studies that included information about diabetes status and mortality among patients after cancer surgery.

The size of the studies ranged from 70 patients to 32,621 patients, with a median of 427 patients.

Yeh said that the analysis could not say why cancer patients with diabetes are at greater risk of death after surgery.

One culprit could be infection; diabetes is a well-established risk factor for infection and infection-related mortality in the general population, and any surgery can increase the risk of infections.

Another cause may be cardiovascular compromise. Diabetes raises the risk of atherosclerosis and is a strong predictor of heart attack and death from cardiovascular disease.

"The ultimate question of whether better diabetes management in people with cancer increases their survival after surgery can't be answered by this study. More research will be needed to figure this out," she said.

The study is to be published in the April issue of the journal Diabetes Care. (ANI)

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