Colon cancer recurrence is associated with diabetes and high blood pressure, according to research. In a retrospective study looking at 36,000 colon cancer patients, the researchers found that early diabetes and high blood pressure increased the risk of colon cancer recurrence and mortality, compared to patients without either condition.
Senior study author Nestor Esnaola said, “Although metabolic syndrome has been linked to colon cancer, the third leading cause of cancer death in the U.S., previous work looking at its effect on mortality has not adequately accounted for cancer stage or treatment. Our results suggest that patients with early stage colon cancer who also have diabetes or hypertension may need to be followed more closely for recurrence and could potentially benefit from broader use of adjuvant chemotherapy.”
“Metabolic syndrome as a whole had no apparent effect on colon cancer recurrence or survival. When we teased out and analyzed the effect of each of its components, however, the data told a different story,” Dr. Esnaola continued.
The researchers found that 47.7 percent of the patients who did not have a metabolic syndrome – diabetes or high blood pressure – were still alive five years after colon cancer diagnosis, compared to patients who did have a metabolic syndrome. The rates of recurrent colon cancer were eight percent higher among patients with diabetes or high blood pressure.
On the other hand, those with high cholesterol were found to have the lowest risk of colon cancer recurrence or mortality.
Dr. Esnaola said, “Although we did not have data on medication for these patients, we suspect that the higher survival and lower recurrence rates observed in patients with high lipid levels in our study group were likely due to the protective effects of statins. To our knowledge, this is the largest study to date controlling for cancer stage and treatment that has analyzed the effect of metabolic syndrome and its components on colon cancer recurrence and survival. The adverse effects of diabetes and hypertension in early stage patients and apparent protective effect of high blood lipids observed in our cohort suggest that when it comes to metabolic syndrome and cancer outcomes, the devil is in the details.”
Treatment options for recurrent colon cancer include surgery, radiation, chemotherapy, targeted therapy, or a combination of any of the listed treatments. Combination therapy has been found to increase the success of the treatment and extend a patient’s life.
Treatment is often based on the patient’s specific needs and situation. When determining the type of treatment for a patient, the doctor needs to weigh out the pros and cons, including side effects and effectiveness of the treatment – especially if it is a new one.
Another point to keep in mind when addressing recurrent colon cancer treatment is whether the cancer has spread to other areas. Common areas where colon cancer spreads are the liver and lungs, but it can virtually go anywhere in the body. It’s important that treatment also focuses on these potential cancer target areas to prevent additional complications.
By working closely with your doctor, you can help choose the best mode of treatment for your recurrent colon cancer.