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Diabetes and Cancer Risk

September 4, 2012 in News

By now, you are well aware of the fact that diabetes affects more than just your sugar levels. As research efforts unravel more of the mysteries of the effects diabetes has on the body, it is increasingly clear that these effects are far-reaching.

We know that having diabetes can increase your risk of some other health conditions; the link among diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and hypertension has been well documented. The relationship between diabetes and other conditions has been suspected, but not well understood.

A study recently published in Diabetes Care summarized the findings of a study that followed 1,053,831 adults for 26 years. Researchers looked at the health information collected from participants who died during the course of the study; for each cause of death they compared diabetics to non-diabetics, after statistically controlling for differences in age and BMI.

Diabetes was associated with a higher risk of mortality from all causes combined. Women with diabetes had an especially greater risk of death from cancers of the liver, pancreas, endometrium (uterine lining), colon, and breast. Among men with diabetes, there was a greater risk of death due to cancers of the breast, liver, mouth or throat, pancreas, bladder, colon, and prostate.

Cancer was not the only factor in the increased mortality rate for diabetes in the study. Participants with diabetes also had a greater risk of death from disorders involving the circulatory system, respiratory system, digestive system, and genitourinary (urinary and reproductive) system. These participants also had a significantly higher risk of death from external causes and accidental deaths.

The authors of the study emphasized that the bottom line for these results is that persons with diabetes should received “coordinated, multidisciplinary care,” and that doctors treating diabetic patients should be vigilant about age-appropriate cancer screenings.

Is it time you spoke with your doctor about your risk for conditions associated with diabetes? Are you up to date with the appropriate screenings for your age group? You can use the Notes tool to add this topic to your list of questions for your next visit to your doctor.

You can find information about what cancer screenings are recommended for you through a tool created by the American Cancer Society in collaboration with the American Diabetes Association and the American Heart Association, located at http://www.everydaychoices.org/.

You can read the source article for this post through Physician’s Briefing. Diabetes Care also has the abstract of the research article available online.


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