Fasting blood glucose is a measure of the quantity of glucose present in an individual’s blood stream after abstaining from eating for at least eight hours.1 This test is used to screen for diabetes.
The chart below provides fasting blood sugar numbers and descriptions as provided by the American Diabetes Association.
For a comprehensive overview of Diabetes, see our Diabetes section under medical health issues.
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The largest of these studies was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association in January 2005. In the Korean study, pancreatic cancer was found to have the strongest association with blood sugar levels.
Other cancers that showed a correlation with blood sugar levels in men were esophageal, liver, colorectal, and bile duct cancers. In women, cancers of the pancreas, liver, lung, and cervix were correlated with blood sugar levels.
The reasons why high blood sugar levels increase the risk of developing certain cancers are largely unknown. Another possibility is that, because cancer cells require more glucose than normal cells, a high blood sugar environment in the body may increase cancerous cell growth and division. There are numerous ways for an individual to reduce their blood sugar levels, some of these include: consuming a high fiber diet, consuming fresh, unprocessed foods, limiting sugary foods and beverages, consuming foods with a low glycemic index or glycemic load, and exercising regularly for at least 30 minutes a day, three times a week.
The researchers used data from the Korean Cancer Prevention Study (KCPS) which involved more than 1.2 million Koreans between the ages of 30 and 95.
The graph below shows the risk of selected cancers for the Korean men in the study, grouped by fasting glucose levels.


The risk of selected cancers in Korean women, grouped by fasting glucose levels are presented in the graph below. That study linked elevated fasting blood sugar levels with an increased incidence of cancers of the pancreas, skin, womb, and urinary tract.
One possible mechanism is that higher blood sugar levels may indicate increased stress on organs such as the pancreas (which produces insulin in response to high sugar levels) and the liver (which can store glucose in the form of glycogen).
Studies have also shown that cancer cells deprived of sufficient glucose levels self destruct through a process called apoptosis. In younger women aged under 49 years there was also a link between breast cancer and high blood sugar levels.
In total, women in the highest quartile of fasting blood sugar levels were 26 percent more likely to develop some form of cancer compared to those in the lowest quartile of blood sugar levels.



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