Diabetes may increase risk for cancer, especially for women

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PEOPLE with diabetes appear to have a higher risk of developing cancer than those without diabetes, and the risk is greater in women than men, a new meta-analysis finds.
In 2015, more than 400 million people had diabetes and 17.5 million people had cancer worldwide. And although previous studies have found a link between diabetes and cancer risk, it wasn’t clear whether gender also played a role.
In the study, published today (July 19) in the journal Diabetologia, the researchers sifted through earlier studies that reported a link between cancer and diabetes. After removing studies that looked at only a single gender and studies that hadn’t adjusted for age, the researchers ended up analyzing data from more than 19 million individuals with either type 1 or type 2 diabetes across more than 100 studies and data sets.
The researchers found that women with diabetes had a 27 percent higher risk of cancer compared with women without diabetes, while men with diabetes had a 19 percent higher risk of cancer compared with men without diabetes. Comparing men and women, the researchers found that women with diabetes had a 6 percent higher risk of cancer than men with diabetes.
“Given the epidemic of both diabetes and cancer, it is important that both women with and without diabetes, as well as health care providers, are aware [of] the heightened risk of cancer following diabetes in women than men and try to prevent the onset and manage the progression of diabetes,” said lead author Toshiaki Ohkuma, a research fellow in the renal and metabolic division at the George Institute for Global Health in Australia.
When the researchers looked at specific types of cancer, they found that woman with diabetes again had a higher risk for most cancers than men with diabetes. For example, compared with men with diabetes, women with diabetes had an 11 percent higher risk of developing kidney cancer, a 13 percent higher risk of oral cancer, a 14 percent higher risk of stomach cancer and 15 percent higher risk of leukemia. Men with diabetes had a 12 percent higher risk of developing liver cancer compared with women with diabetes, however.

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