December 5, 2013

Cancer Risk and Insulin Choice


cancerThe last few year have raised questions about the safety of different insulins and how it applies to cancer risk. Diabetes Care published a study breaking down the cancer risks associated with two different types of insulin.

The types of insulin assessed in this study were glargine, or brand name Lantus, and NPH insulin. For both groups of patients studied, neither group stayed on their initial insulin for a prolonged period of time.

The study was conducted between January 2003 and December 2010. As mentioned, none of the patients in the study were on one specific type of insulin before the study began.

Conditions of the study required that patients have a second prescription of the same insulin within 180 days and to be free of cancer. For the prevous 12 months before the study began, patients were assessed for comorbidities, medications, and health care records.

Throughout the study, more participants used glargine or Lantus. Incidentally, the rate of cancer was 12% higher in patients who used Lantus. The cancers reported were breast cancer, prostate cancer, and colon cancer.

The choice of insulin for patients was not set in stone. The participants in the study were not told which insulin they must use. A majority of the participants chose to use Lantus, even after given the option to continue with NPH.

With all due respect, cancer looks to be a numbers game. More people chose to use Lantus over NPH. More people in one group would invariability equate to a greater risk of cancer to appear. At the end of the day, which insulin works better for you is the best option with which to live.

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