New research this week indicates that diabetes patients are at a greatly increased risk of liver cancer. The factors that increase the risk of liver cancer are numerous and include cirrhosis, hepatitis B and C, and genetic pre-conditioning. However, without suffering from any of these, diabetics stand two or even three times greater chance of developing the disease.
The complications resulting from badly managed diabetes (when diet, exercise and insulin fail to control blood sugar levels consistently) are numerous. These include various eye disease, nerve disease, heart problems and kidney disease. The latest study, carried out by epidemiologists at the Houston Veteran Affairs Medical Centre in Texas, American, strongly links diabetes and liver cancer. However, the cancer itself is rare both in diabetics and the general population.
The statistics were uncovered through assessing a patient database collected between 1994 and 1999. The study group comprised over 2000 patients who were treated for liver cancer and compared them with over 6000 patients who did not have the disease.
The findings will be published in the journal Gut, and one expert involved in the study was reported as saying: “This study, along with other studies, really confirms the emerging role for diabetes as an independent risk factor for liver cancer.”
He also spoke out about the need for liver cancer screening to become a routine part of diabetes care. Liver cancer is ten times more common in developing countries.

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