People with type 2 diabetes have an increased risk of developing cancer either before or shortly after their diagnosis, a new study reports.
This new research, which was published in the BMJ, involved a retrospective analysis of over one million adults living in Ontario, Canada.
Scientists at the University of Toronto looked to explore the association between type 2 diabetes diagnosis and the incidence of cancer in three different periods: 10 years before diabetes diagnosis; during the first three months following diabetes diagnosis; and three months to 10 years after diabetes diagnosis.
Type 2 diabetes patients were 23 per cent more likely to have been diagnosed with cancer in the 10 years preceding their diabetes diagnosis than people without diabetes.
Additionally, the incidence of cancer was 62 per cent higher in people with diabetes in three-month period after a diabetes diagnosis.
Lead researcher Iliana Lega said: “This supports existing hypotheses that shared risk factors may be contributing to both cancer and diabetes diagnoses.”
In recent years, more studies have investigated the association between type 2 diabetes and cancer, which share metabolic risk factors such as insulin resistance.
Lega points out that this prevalence in research could be due to improved detection of cancer and increased contact between patients and health professionals following a diagnosis of type 2 diabetes.
“The findings have significant potential public health implications given the growing prevalence of diabetes,” Lega added. “There is excellent evidence that diabetes can be prevented and that metabolic changes leading to diabetes can be reversed with lifestyle changes.
“Similarly, diet and exercise interventions have also been shown to reduce cancer risk and improve cancer outcomes in the general population.”

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