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Malglycemia and Cancer: Introduction to a Conceptual Model

Marilyn J. Hammer
Joachim G. Voss
ONF 2012, 39(3), E275-E287 DOI: 10.1188/12.ONF.E275-E287

Purpose/Objectives: To introduce a conceptual model detailing the physiologic contributions of malglycemia to cancer formation and increased morbidity and mortality.

Data Sources: A literature search was conducted using the PubMed, CINAHL®, and Cochrane databases, as well as Surveillance, Epidemiology and End Results (SEER) cancer statistics.

Data Synthesis: Multiple complex factors are associated with malignancy formation, proliferation, and outcomes for each individual. The authors present a model, termed the Malglycemia Orbit Model, that is analogous to an atom, centered on a core of individual factors, and surrounded by "orbits" containing cancer and related factors. Highlighted in this model is the role of malglycemia.

Conclusions: Cancer formation and sequelae involve numerous multifaceted factors. One factor not well described or understood within the context of malignancies is glycemic status, most notably how malglycemia impacts cancer formation and risks for adverse outcomes. The atomic-structured malglycemia model describes this process.

Implications for Nursing: Among the many uncontrollable factors that contribute to cancer formation and adverse outcomes, malglycemia is one that is modifiable. Nurses are in a prime position to conduct research to enhance understanding and ultimately improve protocols for better glycemic control and, in effect, better outcomes for individuals with cancer.

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