More Diabetes: Increased Cancer Risk

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With two-thirds of US residents now overweight or obese, it’s no surprise that the incidence of type 2 diabetes has also increased over the decades. A government report released last week shows how sharply the increase has occurred: diabetes cases increased in every state, with six states having 10 percent or more of its residents facing this disease.

The report was published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The increased incidence does not bode well. Type 2 diabetes brings with it numerous health complications. It also brings increased cancer risk.

The greatest increases in risk linked to type 2 diabetes are for cancers of the liver, endometrium, pancreas and bladder and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Liver cancer is 250 percent and pancreatic is almost 75 percent higher. There’s a smaller increase in risk for colon and breast cancers.

The link may be related to the fact that diabetes and cancers share many of the same risk factors, such as excess body fat, chronic inflammation and insulin resistance. As Karen Collins, a diabetes-cancer expert, has pointed out – the metabolic abnormalities in type 2 diabetes are also the perfect conditions for the body to develop cancer.

The study analyzed self-reported data collected during 1995 to 2010 from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS). The telephone survey did not distinguish between type 1 and type 2 diabetes. But approximately 90 to 95 percent of all diabetes is type 2, according to the report.

The five states with the largest increase are: Oklahoma (226 percent), Kentucky (158 percent), Georgia (145 percent), Alabama (140 percent), and Washington (135 percent).

This increase is likely the result of increasing diabetes incidence along with improved survival of persons with diabetes, the report notes.

There are steps people with type 2 diabetes and prediabetes can take today to reduce their risk of cancer and prevent both diseases. Karen offers evidence-base steps on what people can do in this Cancer Research Update.


    Author: Mya Nelson

    Mya R. Nelson is at American Institute for Cancer Research, where she writes about the research in the field.

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