People with type 2 diabetes face a greater risk of developing and dying from breast and colon cancer, according to new research into the association between diabetes and cancer-related mortality.
The warning comes from scientists in the Netherlands who analysed research published between 2007 and 2013, which involved more than 1.9 million patients with colon or breast cancer and with or without type 2 diabetes.
They found that those with type 2 diabetes were 23% more likely to develop breast cancer and 38% more likely to die from the disease; and had a 26% higher risk of colon cancer (also known as bowel cancer) and a 30% heightened risk of dying from it compared to those who were non-diabetic.
According to the researchers, these results show “a higher risk and a stronger association between diabetes and death from breast and colon cancer than previously reported”.
“Our meta-analysis, which is unique since it looks at the risks for breast and colon cancer while excluding all other causes of death, provides stronger evidence for the association between diabetes and the risk of developing and dying from these cancers,” explained Dr Kirstin De Bruij, of the Erasmus University Medical Center in Rotterdam.
“We want to make people more aware of this problem and we hope that prevention campaigns regarding obese and diabetic patients will focus on highlighting this increased risk”.
Obesity is a major risk factor for type 2 diabetes, and cancer patients who are obese and diabetic are an already more vulnerable group of individuals when it comes to surgery, as they have an increased risk of developing complications both during and after surgery, De Bruijn added.
The Dutch researchers presented their findings on Sunday at the 2013 European Cancer Congress in Amsterdam.

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