Type 2 Diabetes – Head and Neck Cancer As a Complication of Diabetes

Type 2 Diabetes – Head and Neck Cancer As a Complication of Diabetes

Preventing and controlling Type 2 diabetes is important both for avoiding signs and symptoms of diabetes itself and for preventing the various complications associated with this disease. According to investigators at Tainan University in Taiwan and other research institutions in Taiwan and California, USA, head and neck cancer could be one complication associated with Type 2 diabetes.

Their study, reported on in JAMA Otolaryngological Head and Neck Surgery, in July 2014, included 80,089 people diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes and compared them with healthy controls. It was found the people with diabetes were 47 percent more likely to have head and neck cancer as the healthy participants…

mouth cancer was 74 percent more frequent in diabetic patients,
throat cancer was 53 percent more frequent, and
nose cancer was 40 percent more frequent.
From these results it was concluded having Type 2 diabetes was significantly associated with a higher risk of developing head and neck cancer.

Smoking, tobacco, and a virus called human papillomavirus type 16 (HPV-16) are other important risk factors for oral and throat cancer. HPV-16 is the leading cause of cervical cancer in women. Oral and throat cancer can be fatal, but there is an excellent chance of recovery if it is caught early enough.

According to the Oral Cancer Foundation in Newport Beach, California, USA, 43,250 people are expected to be diagnosed with oral or throat cancer this year in the United States alone. According to the Centers for Disease Control it is the sixth leading type of cancer worldwide. Globally new cases of oral and throat cancer occur 450,000 times per year. This is the eighth year in a row in which oral and throat cancer cases have increased in number.

Signs and symptoms of oral or throat cancer include…

ear pain,
sore throat that does not go away,
pain or difficulty swallowing,
hoarse voice,
unexplained weight loss, and
a lump in the neck or back of the throat.
Diagnosis is by observation and biopsy. The back of the throat and tongue can be partly seen with mirrors. For seeing the entire throat doctors use an endoscope, a flexible fiber optic instrument. When an abnormality is seen a sample is removed and examined in the laboratory.

When oral or throat cancer is diagnosed, in its early stages it can be removed surgically. If the cancer returns after surgery it is sometimes treated with radiation or chemotherapy. When the cancer has spread throughout the body, chemotherapy is often given. As in all types of cancer, early detection is important, and prevention is always best.

Although managing your disease can be very challenging, Type 2 diabetes is not a condition you must just live with. You can make simple changes to your daily routine and lower both your weight and your blood sugar levels. Hang in there, the longer you do it, the easier it gets.

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