Diabetes and cancer treatment – Clare’s story

Going through treatment for cancer is difficult and upsetting at any time. But managing diabetes at the same time can make things more complicated. Clare found it more difficult to control her blood sugar levels when she needed surgery, and she didn’t get enough information to help her cope. In this blog, Clare tells her story, and we talk more about the information and support available.

This image shows a photo of Claire, and the words: Diabetes Awareness Week Claire’s Story

Clare’s story
I was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes just before being diagnosed with womb cancer. I focused on treating the cancer first, as I didn’t really think the diabetes was that serious. It became harder to manage my diabetes when cancer treatment started. I control my diabetes with tablets, not insulin. So when I needed surgery for a hysterectomy, managing my blood sugar level got more complicated and I had to be put on a drip.

I couldn’t manage much exercise when I was having cancer treatment and put on quite a bit of weight. So I decided to make some lifestyle changes when treatment was over. I live on my own and I don’t always have the energy to cook because of my fatigue. But I can’t have ready-made stuff either because it has a lot of sugar in. So I often do a veggie stir-fry – it’s healthy, cheap and quite easy to make. Eating healthily helps keep my blood sugar stable.

I also joined a gym and started swimming. I’d recommend it to anyone – it’s become a way of life for me. But it’s not just about keeping fit and managing my diabetes, it’s a way of meeting people, especially when you’re not working. It gets you out and being sociable. It also helps with stress. Getting active has helped me mentally, physically and emotionally. You’ve got to look after yourself, it’s so important.

My advice to others managing cancer and diabetes would be to ask your doctor for more information. I didn’t have a lot of support from my GP at first and wasn’t given any information. That’s why I’ve helped Macmillan produce their new information on diabetes and cancer treatment, so that people like me can get support at the time they need it.

More information and support
We know that sometimes cancer isn’t your only health worry. Understanding more about your situation may help to reassure you. That’s why we’ve teamed up with Diabetes UK to produce some new information on diabetes and cancer treatment. It explains how cancer treatments can affect your diabetes and make it more difficult for you to control your blood sugar. It also has tips to help you cope with the side effects of cancer treatment.

This image shows three pages from our diabetes and cancer treatment booklet.

To order a free copy, visit be.macmillan.org.uk or call us on 0808 808 00 00. To read the information online, visit macmillan.org.uk/diabetesandcancer

For more information about diabetes, you can contact Diabetes UK. Call their helpline free on 0345 123 2399 if you live in England, Wales or Northern Ireland. Or call 0141 212 8710 if you live in Scotland. It’s open Monday to Friday, 9am to 6pm. Or visit diabetes.org.uk


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The Macmillan team is here to help. Our cancer support specialists can answer your questions, offer support, or simply listen if you need a chat. Call us free on 0808 808 00 00.

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