Reuters reported recently that people with type 2 diabetes using metformin had a 60% lower risk of developing pancreatic cancer compared with diabetics who never used metformin. People taking insulin and drugs that stimulate insulin secretion, such as sulfonylureas and glinides, also seem to be at higher risk of pancreas cancer.Lead researcher for the study, Donghui Li, is affiliated with the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center. My sense is that the research has not yet been published in a peer-reviewed professional journal.
About one in every 75 people in the U.S. will develop pancreatic cancer, which is a particularly dangerous cancer. That translates to 38,000 new cases yearly. Both type 1 and type 2 diabetics are twice as likely as the general population to develop it. The best chance for a cure is surgical removal of the malignancy.
Prevention is even better.
Reference: Steenhuysen, Julie. Drug cuts diabetics’ pancreatic cancer risk: study. Reuters, August 3, 2009.