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Blood-sugar medication may confuse cancer tests

Category: Cancer Detection and Tumor Markers

Diabetic patients taking medication to control their blood-sugar levels who have also recently had a positive cancer test may want to get themselves reexamined, as a new study has found that some blood-sugar medications can result in more false-positive cancer tests.

The study conducted by researchers at St. Louis University Hospital found that some oral blood-sugar control medications cause normal cells to give off metabolic signatures similar to those of cancer cells. These signatures are used in screenings for many types of cancer.

Lead investigator Kyle Hurtgen said that if more imaging technicians had this knowledge it could help prevent many incorrect diagnoses, as well as help doctors find cancer at earlier stages in those who have the disease.

"It is important for technologists to know the patient's history and use that information to their advantage to help physicians detect cancer and provide the best possible treatment for diabetic patients," he said.

Prior studies have shown that having diabetes can increase the risk for several types of cancer, including stomach and colon, which increases the need for doctors to make correct diagnoses among these patients.

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