New onset diabetes
Researchers have been looking for the link between pancreatic cancer and diabetes for many years, and while we still cannot explain it fully, we can say that diabetes is associated with pancreatic cancer.
Diabetes is found in approximately 50% of patients newly diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. And while innate diabetes type I is not a cause of pancreatic cancer, diabetes type II may indeed be an early symptom of pancreatic cancer.
In fact, a diagnosis of diabetes type II after the age of 50 years is associated with a 6-8 times higher risk of developing pancreatic cancer within 1-3 years. This high-risk group is called New Onset Diabetes type II (NOD). About 1% of these patients go on to develop pancreatic cancer within 3 years. Patients need to be monitored by tests twice a year for 2-3 years. If we can find them in time by screening, healthcare has a chance to offer them treatment that is far more likely to improve their survival chances.
The market for screening of NOD from the age of 50 years is estimated to approximately 3,000,000 patients annually in Europe and the United States.
The National Cancer Institute has estimated that the number of new diabetic patients over 50 years amounts to approximately 1.4 million annually, in the United States alone.
- Mikael Öman et al. ’Nationellt vårdprogram för pankreascancer och periampullär cancer’, Regionala cancercentrum i samverkan, 2012, s. 56.
- Damiano J, Bordier L, Le Berre JP, et al. ‘Should pancreas imaging be recommended in patients over 50 years when diabetes is discovered because of acute symptoms?’ Diabetes Metab 2004; 30: 203–07.
- Rahul Pannala, Ananda Basu, Gloria M Petersen et al. ‘New-onset diabetes: a potential clue to the early diagnosis of pancreatic cancer’, Lancet Oncol 2009; 10: 88–95, 2009., s. 89.