People with obesity and type 2 diabetes are at risk of developing cancer if they are unable to control their glucose levels, scientists have said.

Academics from the University of Gothenburg have found that people who can manage their glucose rates continuously are 60 per cent more protected from developing the disease, even if they are obese.

Previous research has revealed that individuals who are obese are at more of a risk of developing type 2 diabetes and various forms of cancer.

During the study, the scientists examined nearly 400 people with obesity and type 2 diabetes who had undergone weight loss surgery, and 308 clinically overweight participants that have received no surgical operations.

According to the academics, bariatric surgery often improves blood glucose control amongst people with diabetes.

The researchers found that the participants who underwent weight loss surgery were 37 per cent less likely to develop cancer compared to those in the other group.

In addition, they found that the participants who sustained good glucose levels over a 10-year period lowered their risk of developing cancer by 60 per cent.

A total of 102 people managed to control their blood glucose levels for a decade, with the study reporting that only 12 per cent of these participants got cancer.

Study author Professor Kasja Sjöholm said: “What we see is that, among people with type 2 diabetes, many cancer cases are preventable.

“These results are an important contribution that enhances our understanding of the connection between glucose control and cancer prevention.”

Fellow author Professor Magdalena Taube said: “The global epidemic of both obesity and diabetes leads to an increased risk of cancer, as well as an increased risk of premature death.

“It has been estimated that, over the next 10 to 15 years, obesity may cause more cancer cases than smoking in several countries. This is a clear illustration of how serious the condition is.”

She added: “Strategies are need to prevent this development, and our results can provide vital guidance for prevention of cancer in people with obesity and type 2 diabetes.”

The research has been published in the journal Diabetes Care.

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