Diabetes associated with greater risk of blood cancer

Thu, 07 Jun 2012
A new study from the United States has found that people with type 2 diabetes face a 20 per cent increased risk of developing a range of blood cancers such as lymphoma, leukemia and myeloma.

The research, which was reported in the journal Blood, involved a meta-analysis of 26 previously published articles on over 17,000 cases of type 2 diabetes and blood cancer, examining the link between developing type 2 diabetes and the incidence of non-Hodgkin lymphoma, leukemia and myeloma.

The team are not certain what causes the connection and admitted more work needs to be done to understand the potential relationship between diabetes and cancer, especially regarding the impact of behavioural factors including obesity, physical exercise and smoking. The researchers found that people with type 2 diabetes have a heightened risk of developing these blood cancers, but that the chance seemed to depend on geographic region.

Lead author on the study, Jorge Castillo, from The Miriam Hospital in Rhode Island said "When you consider that more than 19 million Americans have been diagnosed with diabetes - not to mention the millions more who are either undiagnosed or will be diagnosed in the future - a 20 percent increased risk of blood cancer is quite significant."

He added "It's important to remember that type 2 diabetes can, to some degree, be prevented and controlled through lifestyle modification, such as diet and exercise. So by preventing the onset of type 2 diabetes, we could also prevent blood cancer."
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