Diabetes and pancreatic cancer

Insulin is a hormone that controls the amount of sugar in the blood. Diabetes, or high blood sugar levels, can occur if your pancreas is not making enough insulin. This is why some people develop diabetes shortly before pancreatic cancer is diagnosed (when the cancer is affecting how much insulin the pancreas can make) or soon after surgery (when some or all of the pancreas has been removed).

The way diabetes is managed varies from person to person but often includes a combination of dietary changes and medicines. Your GP can help you manage the condition, but you will usually be referred to an endocrinologist, a specialist in hormone disorders. You may also be referred to a dietitian for help with adjusting your diet.

Listen to our podcast on Appetite Loss and and Nausea

Coping with diabetes

  • Eat small meals and snacks regularly to help control blood sugar levels.
  • Your GP or endocrinologist can prescribe medicines to help control the diabetes.
  • If you are taking diabetes medicine, you need to include high-fibre carbohydrate foods at every meal to avoid low blood sugar levels. Wholegrain breads and cereals, vegetables and fruit are all suitable foods.
  • For more information about diabetes, talk to your doctors and dietitian. You can also contact Diabetes Australia on 1300 136 588.

This information was last reviewed in February 2018
View who reviewed this content
View our editorial policy

Support services

Life after cancer treatment
Webinars, exercise and nutrition, sexuality programs, and back-to-work support

Need legal and financial assistance?
Pro bono services, financial and legal assistance, and no interest loans

Cancer information

Nutrition after cancer treatment
Healthy eating habits to help you maintain good nutrition 

Nutrition and cancer help for carers
Tips for preparing food for someone with cancer