Type 1 diabetes and chemotherapy

I have been a type 1 diabetic for almost 30 years and in November was diagnosed with Stage 2 DCIS. I had a WLE and sentinel node biopsy on 2nd December and I consider myself very lucky as my lymph nodes were clear and they got a clear margin around the lump they removed. Due to my age (40) I will be having chemotherapy followed by radiotherapy and today I received my appointment to see the oncologist which is 9th January. I am just wondering if anyone out there is also diabetic and has had chemo? If there is how did it affect your diabetes? I am terrified off all the side effects of chemo but I know it has to be done to give me a better chance of long term survival. Also my breast cancer was not hormone fed and I was wondering if I should ask for a genetics test to see if I carry the BRCA (???) gene, what do people think? I am trying to remain positive as I have 3 children aged 16, 11 and 8 but sometimes it’s hard to be positive when you are facing this, why don’t people understand that you can’t be positive 100% of the time? Still tonight I will go to a party, put on a brave face and I’m sure will shed a few tears at midnight. Happy New Year to everyone who reads this and thank you for listening to me going on. Katie

Hi Katie,

You might find it helpful to talk over some of your concerns with one of our helpliners.  They can offer practical information and emotional support.  They will be open again as normal tomorrow; 9-5 on weekdays and 10-2 on Saturdays.  The number is 0808 800 6000

Very best wishes


BCC Moderator

Hi Katie

I can offer no advice on the diabetes, but I just wanted to say that don’t worry about trying to be positive all the time. I think it’s only natural to feel scared, worried, nervous and all the other emotions we go through. We’re human, not robots! So you carry on as you are. Be positive for your children, but don’t allow yourself to bottle things up - that could end up making you feel worse in the long run!

Hope you enjoyed the party as much as you could :slight_smile: x

Thanks KittyKat, the party was good although at midnight I got a bit emotional lol. Thanks for the understanding, it’s hard sometimes as everyone thinks it’s what you want to hear and I know I will beat this but like you said it’s scary as it’s the unknown and I can’t control it (usually I am a bit of a control freak). Katie x

Hi katie, just wanted to offer support, although im sure you are well on your way by now.  I too am type 1 for the same no of years - lantis and novorapid. diagnosed on tues with Grade 3 although have no further info as yet, although op on 23 May probably mx and scared to death. Let me know how the chemo affected you as i might be there soon.

In the meantime, take care and good luck. Hbunnie

Hi Hbunnie,
I am now almost finished, my last cycle will be next Wednesday (14th May). I have been very lucky with side effects and haven’t really suffered much at all. My blood sugar tends to be sky high when I am taking the steroids and have the chemo but I adjust my humalog and do more blood tests and get by. If you have any questions or need any help with anything message me. It’s tough going but u will get through it and if I can be of any help please let me know. Katie x

It’s certainly not dull is it Hbunnie? Honestly if I can help in any way or if you just want to have a rant then please do. You can private message me if you have any questions that you don’t want to be public. Take care of yourself and remember everyone on this site will support you and can offer advice and tell you their stories. Katie x

Hi hbunny,
Glad everything went well. My last chemo went well although it’s strange now to really believe that part of treatment is over with. I have met my Clinical Oncologist regarding radiotherapy and I am now just waiting for my planning appointment but it should start at some point in the next 2-3 weeks. I’m feeling ok at the minute although I’m still having good and bad days but it’s only 11 days still my last chemo so in a few more days I will feel even better. Hope you get the results you want. Let me know how you get on. Katie x

Hi ladies,


I was dx the first time in 2008, had adjuvent chemo x 6 taxotere and at that time I had been a type 1 diabetic for 40 years.


I monitored my blood glucose carefully,  the steroid tablets caused a raise in them so I had to inject more whilst taking them.   I took all the anti sick pills and pessaries i was given and luckily although nauseas, was never actually sick.   So  i would advise frequent testing and adjusting insulin as required.


Good luck with it

I haven’t suffered with any permanent neuropathy although I’m still early days. With my final cycle I’ve had numbness in my face but this is now back to normal and I am 12 days post my final dose. Hopefully you won’t suffer with any neuropathy x

Hi hbunny, at least you have all the facts now. Chemo for me really wasn’t too bad and I was very lucky with the side effects. Had my radiotherapy planning session today which was ok but because I have a long weekend planned at end of month the won’t start my treatment till after so radiotherapy will now take my treatment till end of July. X

Hi it’s a shame u have to wait to get started, it’s so frustrating having to wait when all u want to do is just get started. When I went for my radiotherapy planning appointment they decided to delay my radiotherapy till after my weekend away (this sent me into floods of tears as I just want it all over with) so I am now starting radiotherapy on 4th July and I will be having 20 sessions so it’s takes me up to 31st July. Make the most of your pre-chemo time, hope the side effects are minimal when u start. Let me know how u get on. Take care x

Hi Katie, do hope your first radiotherapy session has gone well, and quickly. I managed to get my chemo brought forward to yesterday so feel si much better the first is out of the way. No real side effects as yet, but still plenty of time for that.

only concern you might be able to help with is how did you deal wit the constant sugar spike. Did you just double both short and fast acting to cope. Struggling to get levels below 15-18 at the moment, but also don’t want a back up of insulin? Any ideas greatfully received. Take care of you. Hbunny

Hi Hbunny, I found the best way of dealing with the highs was to at least double the fast acting insulin (I’m on Humalog) - it really is trial and error but to be honest I wasn’t too hung up on it as it really is only for the few days that you are taking the steroids (watch out for the dip the day or 2 after you finish that course of steroids). I was told to keep my long acting insulin (I’m on Lantus) the same however I did increase it by a couple of units but it didn’t really make any difference. It really is all trial and error but try not to worry too much about the highs, just be extra careful with what you eat and remember it is only a few days at a time. Keep checking your blood sugar and if you have to then inject a bit more fast acting. If you have any questions at all just ask if I can help in any way I will. As for me first radiotherapy done, all ok, 19 to go!!! Hope your side effects are minimal (I was very lucky with mine and will be interesting to hear how you get on just to see if it’s because we’re extra tough). Take care xxx

Hi, radiotherapy is every week day. How many sessions u have depends on each individual really, I’m having the 15 as standard and then 5 booster sessions as long as my skin is ok. I was diagnosed in November last year with a grade 2 tumour, luckily lymph nodes were clear. Started chemo on 22 January 3 courses of FEC and then 3 courses of Taxotere, last chemo was 14 May. I was very lucky and didn’t have many side effects. I started radiotherapy on Friday so am 3 down 17 to go. Take care x

Hi irenea,
The actual treatment is really quick, I would say taking into account getting undressed and getting on the bed with them checking all measurements and then the actual dose of radiotherapy and time to get changed again, all in all it takes less than 10 minutes. I have a bit of a journey to the hospital too, it’s not that far away but the roads are really busy getting into Manchester so can take anything from 25 minutes to 90 minutes each way. Luckily I had my chemotherapy at the local hospital. I haven’t felt any burning (yet) but my left boob feels warm for a while after and apparently you get a bit of a tan/red mark that appears from about the 2nd week. I’ll let u know how I get on. As for work I went back to work at the beginning of June (3 weeks after last chemo), I am currently only working 3 days a week. I’m hoping to increase my days in August and then be back full time in September but will just have to see if I get really tired. Take care x

Hi Irenea

Welcome to the BCC forums, along with the support you are sharing here our helpliners are on hand with further practical and emotional support for you so please feel free to call to talk any concerns through

Lines are open weekdays 9-5 and Saturdays 10-2

Here’s a link to the BCC radiotherapy information and booklet which I hope you will find helpful:


Take care
Lucy BCC