Diabetic cancer patients at greater risk of rare food poisoning

Individuals who are suffering from cancer and type 2 diabetes have a hard enough road as it is. However, a new study has found that these individuals are at a dangerously elevated risk of developing listeria.

Listeria is a relatively rare yet serious form of food poisoning. The bacterium causes flu-like symptoms and can be life-threatening in individuals with already weakened immune systems.

After reviews of nearly 1,413 cases of listeria, England's Health Protection Agency found that individuals who have the concurrent conditions of cancer and diabetes are nearly five times more likely to develop the illness than healthy people.

Bob Adak, the head of epidemiology services in the gastrointestinal diseases department at the Health Protection Agency, said that public health officials may need to adjust their recommendations regarding the disease in light of the new findings.

"Our research has shown that those receiving cancer treatment or suffering from a variety of conditions, including diabetes, kidney or liver disease, should be offered appropriate health advice on how to avoid listeria," he said. "At present this is given passively and mainly to pregnant women, but clearly there are other groups of people who need to be advised on what they can do to protect their health."
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