The risk of developing colorectal cancer is increased by type 2 diabetes, according to new research.
The study, conducted at Utrecht University in the Netherlands, and published in Diabetes Care, involved the evaluation of data from 300,039 adults.
All participants were at least 18 years old, had diabetes, and had at least one prescription for antidiabetes medication. Their data was compared with a non-diabetic group in order to discover any links between type 2 diabetes and colorectal cancer.
2,759 cases of colorectal cancer were diagnosed in the group with type 2 diabetes; colon cancer, in most cases. Only one case developed had both colon and rectal cancer.
Type 2 diabetes was discovered to be linked with an increased risk of colorectal cancer. No clear trend was established for an increased risk of colorectal cancer at more advanced stages of diabetes treatment.
The researchers wrote: “In summary, we observed a moderate, yet (1.3-fold) significantly increased, risk of colorectal cancer in patients treated for type 2 diabetes. Among diabetic patients, an additional 1.2- to 1.3-fold increased risk was observed for patients who suffered from obesity for a total duration of four years or more.
“This trend between cumulative duration of obesity and the risk of colorectal cancer provides an indication that long-term exposure to high levels of insulin increases the risk of colorectal cancer.
“Moreover, these findings signal that the risk of colorectal cancer increases the longer a patient with type 2 diabetes remains obese. Future studies could determine whether the increased risk observed here is reversible through weight loss.”

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