Research at the University of Melbourne, Australia found that pancreatic cancer is linked to diabetes. The research team has analyzed the data of 88 international studies that had been conducted between 1973 and 2013. The question was whether diabetes and pancreatic cancer are linked. They found that the rate of pancreatic cancer was twice as high in diabetics when compared to non-diabetics. Dr. Mehrdad Nikfarjam is a specialist in liver, pancreas and biliary diseases and the main author of the study. He found that the risk for pancreatic cancer in non-diabetic people has remained relatively low.
The risk for pancreatic cancer was highest shortly after the diagnosis of diabetes and it remained high long after the diagnosis of diabetes was made. Dr. Nikfarjam said that diabetes remains a moderate risk for the development of pancreatic cancer later in life. He recommends that all newly diagnosed diabetic patients should be screened for pancreatic cancer in order to diagnose this cancer at an earlier stage when the prognosis after treatment is better. At the present most pancreatic cancers are diagnosed when they are already in an incurable late stage.
An earlier study from the MD Anderson Cancer Clinic has found that metformin, a drug used to treat type 2 diabetes reduced the risk of developing pancreatic cancer with the use of metformin by 62% (Ref. 3). Metformin is reducing the insulin resistance and insulin resistance has been found to be a triggering factor for the development of many other cancers beside pancreatic cancer.
More information is available at Causes Of Cancer of the Pancreas.