Cancer Keys: Sudden onset diabetes

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Welcome to Cancer Keys, a regular bite-sized learning column brought to you by GatewayC in collaboration with Cancer Research UK.


Sudden onset diabetes

Symptoms of pancreatic cancer can often be vague; however sudden onset diabetes can be a potential indicator of the disease.

Potential pitfall

Diabetes, especially Type 2, is common among the general population. However, consideration should be given to its significance, especially in groups of patients for whom this would be unexpected.

Helpful hint

If pancreatic cancer stops the pancreas working properly, it may not produce enough insulin, causing diabetes. NICE guidelines advise an urgent direct access CT scan or ultrasound (if CT is unavailable) within 2 weeks for patients aged 60+ with new onset diabetes and weight loss.


Cancer Keys are a collaboration between GatewayC and Cancer Research UK. Pancreatic Cancer symptoms can be vague; however sudden onset diabetes can be an indicator. Access GatewayC’s Pancreatic Cancer – Early Diagnosis course here.


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