A new study found that people with type 1 or type 2 diabetes are diagnosed with more of some types of cancer and are more likely to die from cancer than people without diabetes.

The study was published online in the journal Diabetes Care.

Researchers believe that a close follow-up given right after a diabetes diagnosis may explain the increased cancer risk seen.

However, these factors do not explain increased risks two years after a diabetes diagnosis, particularly for cancers of the pancreas, liver, kidney and endometrium.

Based on the findings, people with diabetes should get screened for cancer, which could help doctors treat cases early and lessen premature deaths due to cancer.

The study included 953,382 registrants from the National Diabetes Service Scheme in Australia. Of all the participants, 80,676 have type 1 diabetes and 872,796 have type 2 diabetes. The registrants were diagnosed with diabetes between 1997 and 2008.

Researchers compared this data to the cancer rates in Australia’s general population

The National Diabetes Service Scheme is one of the world’s largest diabetes registries and the data was linked to the Australia’s National Death Index.  

Researchers believe that the number of new cases of cancer and diabetes are o the rise in correlation with the increase in the aging population and increasing obesity.

The study found that the highest excess risks for cancer of the pancreas, liver, endometrium, kidney, thyroid, and gallbladder and for a cancer that affects blood cells and bone marrow called chronic myeloid leukemia.

The study also found that there were higher death rates for cancers of the pancreas, liver and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, among those with type 1 diabetes.

There is a possibility that insulin may promote the growth of cancer cells.

Theories that rising glucose levels and obesity in diabetes are leading to the development of cancer are supported by animal data. However large studies on human populations are lacking.

Unfortunately due to the massive size of the study, researchers were unable to explore the extent to which risk factors like obesity, smoking, and diabetes treatment might impact the diabetes-cancer link.

Gerry Oginski
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