Cancer patients with diabetes have higher mortality rates and are more likely to develop infections, and be hospitalized during treatment. Hyperglycemia has been hypothesized as one of the factors associated with this increased risk. Diabetes self-management is one of the essential elements used by patients to maintain glucose levels.
This exploratory study seeks to develop an understanding of the impact cancer treatment can have on overall diabetes self-management and how individual, clinical, and behavioral characteristics may influence or predict the level of diabetes self-management in adults who are undergoing chemotherapy for a solid tumor cancer.
This study was conducted at 8 community-based cancer centers in Michigan and Ohio and used a written, self-administered survey at baseline and a phone survey 8 weeks later.
Diabetes self-management significantly decreased (P < .001), and the level of symptom severity significantly increased (P < .001) after patients were on chemotherapy for a minimum of 8 weeks. The level of symptom severity and diabetes self-efficacy were significantly predictive of the performance of diabetes self-management activities.
Chemotherapy and associated symptoms can have a negative impact on the performance of diabetes self-management activities in adults with both diabetes and cancer, increasing the risk for hyperglycemia and development of complications.
Implications for Practice:
Oncology nurses need to be aware of the impact cancer treatment can have on the performance of diabetes self-management activities in adults. Future research needs to test interventions that may assist patients with diabetes and cancer in managing both diseases.