Corticosteroids are frequently used to reduce swelling around a tumour or part of treatment to control sickness associated with chemotherapy. Corticosteroids can increase appetite and may result in raised blood sugar levels. This is because they make the body’s own sugar controlling hormone (insulin) less effective. Some people are more likely to be affected than others i.e. those who already have diabetes, are overweight, have diabetes in their family or developed diabetes during pregnancy. Raised sugar levels are unpleasant and make you feel thirsty, can cause blurred vision or excessively tired and frequent urination. If uncontrolled although rare may lead to life threatening hospital admission.
There is a lack of evidence to suggest what is the best strategy for screening and monitoring people who develop raised sugars during treatment for an advanced malignancy. Very few diabetes units actively screen for hyperglycaemia in this patient group.
Research on early detection and monitoring, together with advances in treatment this could lead to an increased survival for cancer patients who develop hyperglucaemia. This is a feasibility study to explore the prevalence, assessment and monitoring for steroid induced diabetes and hyperglycaemia.