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Adhering to Diabetes Medication Can Improve Survival in Patients with Colorectal Cancer

Adhering to anti-diabetic prescriptions can improve the survival of those patients battling both diabetes and colorectal cancer.

According to research, patients adhering to oral diabetes medication had a significantly lower risk of overall mortality compared to those who did not.

In the study, about 60% of diabetic patients are taking their medications as prescribed. The team wanted to find out if adhering to anti-diabetic medicines can impact the survival of patients who have both colorectal cancer and diabetes.

The connection between diabetes and the high incidence of colorectal cancer is well known. And the use of metformin, an anti-diabetic drug, has shown that the survival of colorectal cancer among diabetic patients can be improved. However, it has been established that most patients take other anti-diabetic medicines alongside metformin, and this combination can affect the prognosis of colorectal cancer, although this observation is still underexplored.

The research team wanted to improve the previous studies, which evaluated the way metformin use alone can impact the outcomes of colorectal cancer. Thus, they compared the survival outcomes from colorectal cancer patients with different levels of adherence to the oral anti-diabetics prescribed for them.

They discovered that over 80% of patients took more than one medication for their diabetes. Out of these, 23% had high adherence, which resulted in a protective effect for colorectal cancer, mostly distal colon cancer. Those with low adherence experienced a 20% increase in overall mortality in crude and adjusted models.

Based on the data they gathered, about 25% of the patients were taking diabetes medications as prescribed. This suggests that more than 75% of diabetic patients who also have colorectal cancer could benefit by adhering to their anti-diabetic drug prescriptions.

It was also discovered that patients who receive surgery in combination with radiotherapy or chemotherapy had a protective benefit if they had high adherence to anti-diabetic medications. But patients who went through surgery together with chemotherapy or radiotherapy or those who received radiotherapy or chemotherapy without surgery didn’t have protective benefit even if they had high adherence.

This concludes that maintaining high adherence to anti-diabetic meds could boost survival in colorectal cancer patients.

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