Type 2 diabetics who use incretin-based drugs to treat the disease can breathe a sigh of relief. Recent research has found that these drugs do not elevate pancreatic cancer risks in those who use them on a regular basis.
Concerns about pancreatic cancer and incretin-based drugs have existed for some time. The fear was that the pancreatic duct cell stimulation that these drugs produces may lead to the development of this notably deadly disease. Since incretin-based drugs are used in the treatment of nearly 1 million type 2 diabetics, the concerns were high.
A recent study into the possible link between the drugs and pancreatic cancer showed no association between the two. Diabetics, however, are naturally at higher risk for the development of pancreatic cancer. Other risk factors include smoking, pancreatitis and gallstones.
Pancreatic cancer is considered one of the deadliest forms of cancer with a survival rate at the 5-year mark of less than 10 percent. This disease tends to present with no symptoms at its onset, making early detection very difficult. Complicating matters, symptoms when they do arise often mirror those found in a host of other conditions.
In the United States, an estimated 49,000 people are diagnosed with pancreatic cancer each year. About 40,000 people succumb to the disease annually. People at risk for pancreatic cancer, including diabetics, are urged to discuss the condition with their healthcare providers. When risks are known to be especially high, some early detection options are available for the disease.
Diabetics who use incretin-based drugs to help treat their disease do not have to fret seeing their risk for pancreatic cancer rise, researchers say. That said, the innate risk for the disease does tend to be a bit higher for diabetics. Talking about the disease and its potential with a health care provider can help diabetics learn what they can do to lower their risks or identify the condition as early as possible should it develop.