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New Study Finds Type 3c Diabetes Misdiagnoses, Potentially Delaying Pancreatic Cancer Diagnoses

By Jack H. FarnbauchJanuary 4, 2018

While most people are familiar with types 1 and 2 diabetes, there is a third, less common type, known as 3c, that occurs as a result of a pancreatic disorder – such as pancreatic cancer. New research suggests that even doctors aren’t as familiar as they should be with the third type of diabetes, which leads to patients being misdiagnosed with type 2 diabetes instead. This can lead to serious consequences because these patients must begin treatment right away.   

The new study was recently published on Diabetes Care’s website and found that Type 3c is a diabetic condition of the exocrine pancreas and typically results from conditions like inflammation of the pancreas, that affect insulin production. Type 3c diabetes patients have a risk of poor glycemic control that is 1.5 times as high as persons with type 2 diabetes. They are also 10 times more likely to require insulin compared to those who suffer from type 2 diabetes.

The researchers focused on adult patients who received a diabetes diagnosis between 2005 and 2016, and then further analyzed patients who had been diagnosed with pancreatitis. The study looked at more than 31,000 new diagnoses of adult-onset diabetes. Of these, 559 suffered pancreatic disease much earlier than expected. Approximately 87% of the cases of diabetes that occurred after the person suffered pancreatic disease were diagnosed incorrectly as type 2 diabetes. 

You can see more of the results of the study here.