Cancer and Diabetes

Among the most common co-morbidity with cancer among AI/AN is Diabetes

The authors of the diabetes and cancer pages are DeeAnn DeRoin, MD (Ioway) and Jennie Joe, RN, PhD (Navajo)

There are other co-morbidities (co-existing chronic conditions) that AI/AN survivors have in addition to their cancer:

  • Arthritis
  • High blood pressure
  • Heart conditions
  • Obesity

What is the purpose of this NACE branch?  To explain:

  • What diabetes is
  • What pre-diabetes is
  • Who is at risk for diabetes
  • Why diabetes is important
  • How to manage both cancer treatment and diabetes

What information can I find in this module?

  • How diabetes is diagnosed
  • If you are at risk of developing diabetes
  • Help with learning how to manage diabetes
  • Tips for managing both cancer and diabetes

Diabetes and American Indians/Alaska Natives

  • American Indian/Alaska Native adults are almost three times more likely than non-Hispanic white adults to be diagnosed with diabetes.
  • American Indians/Alaska Natives were 2.5 times more likely than non-Hispanic whites to die from diabetes, in 2017.
  • In 2016, American Indians/Native Americans were 2.4 times more likely to be diagnosed with end stage renal disease than non-Hispanic whites.

Diagnosed Cases of Diabetes
Diagnosed Cases of Diabetes
Source: CDC 2019. Summary Health Statistics: National Health Interview Survey: 2018. Table A-4a.

What is "diabetes" (used to be called "metabolic disorder")?

  • Diabetes is a condition in which the sugar in your blood does not get into your cells.
  • Cells use sugar for energy.
  • The sugar in your blood (called "blood glucose") comes mostly from the food you eat to nourish your body.
  • Your body needs a hormone called insulin to move the sugar from the bloodstream (the body's "transportation" system) into the cells.
  • In diabetes the sugar in the blood stream builds up in the blood and causes "high blood sugar" because it can't get into the cells
  • Living healthy can prevent complications

Complications from Diabetes

  • If the blood sugar is not managed well, it can lead to a number of complications:
    • Eye problems, including blindness
    • Heart disease
    • Kidney failure
    • Nerve damage
    • Loss of limbs
    • Dental problems
  • Good News
    • The good news is that we now know that a healthy lifestyle:
      • Can prevent or delay the onset of type 2 diabetes
      • Can prevent or delay the complications of type 2 diabetes
What are behaviors to prevent diabetes?
  • Eat a healthy diet (lean protein, whole grains, lots of fruits and veggies)
  • Maintain a healthy weight
  • Be physically active everyday