LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — Just as your body is battling one life-threatening disease, cancer cells may pose a risk of getting another disease. A new study out of the University of San Diego is examining why that happens.

The study appeared recently in “Science daily.”

Dr. Emily Wang is a professor of pathology at UC San Diego School of Medicine.

“I really want to do something to understand the link between these two diseases,” she said.

Wang and her research team just released the results of a study. It describes a possible biological mechanism in which breast cancer suppresses the production of insulin, which results in diabetes, and at the same time impairs blood sugar control promoting tumor growth.

“So we show that breast cancer can also predispose breast cancer patients or survivors to a higher risk of developing diabetes,” Dr. Wang said.

She’s talking about women who have no family history or predisposition to diabetes until after they had breast cancer.

Based on the early findings in the study it might be a good habit to check insulin and blood glucose if you’re being treated for breast cancer.

“Yes, especially if you do not have diabetes. There may be a higher chance for the other disease,” Dr. Wang said.

A better understanding of how the two conditions help each other may lead to treatments that can restore normal insulin production and suppress tumor growth.

“I should focus on cancer treatment because that is more lethal but controlling blood glucose is always important,” she said.

Patients with both breast cancer and diabetes have worse clinical outcomes and worse survival rates. So Dr. Wang recommends pre-screenings and closely watching glucose and insulin levels.