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Diabetic medicines may increase risk of skewed results in cancer screenings

New research has revealed that medication taken to control blood sugar levels can alter the results of some cancer screenings, as particular medications are influencing where and how much of the imaging agent is taken up by the body during screening.
The study found that patients with diabetes that took medication in tablet form to help them control their blood sugar levels before they were screened for cancer using positron emission tomography (PET) showed abnormally high intestinal absorption of fluorodeoxyglucose, which mimics sugar inside the body, and is a sign that normally indicates the presence of a cancerous tumour. A high absorption rate of this agent is seen as a hot spot on a PET scan, which can indicate the high metabolic activity of cancer cells.
The use of pills called oral hypoglycemics that lowered the blood sugar can have a similar visual effect as cancer cells, which can make diagnosis harder.
Kyle Hurtge, lead author of the study, said “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 .”
Knowing the best time to use these medications, and avoiding them in the lead-up to screenings, can help improve diagnostic accuracy for diabetics, particularly those who are suspected of having cancer of colon or other bowel cancers.

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