Scientists in the United States have found that both the incidence of cancer and cancer mortality is greater for patients suffering from type 2 diabetes as compared with people who do not have the condition.
The study, which was published in Diabetes Care, showed that the chances of incident cancer were 22 per cent more for adult patients with diabetes than for those without it, and that the mortality risk from cancer was 36 per cent greater once potential confounders were taken into account.
The research, carried out at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, involved data from 17,681 adults without diabetes and 599 patients who had self-reported the use of medication to treat type 2 diabetes, to assess the link between being treated for diabetes and the incidence and outcomes of cancer.
The cancer incidence was 13.25 per 1,000 person-years in adults with diabetes, adjusted by age, as compared to 10.58 per 1,000 person-years in non-diabetic adults. For people with cancer, the risk of death due to cancer and the risk of death due to any cause was greater in diabetic adults.
The report suggested that “for many common cancers like colon, breast and prostate, diabetes exerts a stronger adverse influence downstream, after cancer occurs, than upstream, in relation to incident cancer risk.”
It added “Whether improvements in diabetes management might reduce the risk of mortality in cancer patients with pre-existing cancer deserves further attention.”

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