Bad news for women with diabetes: the condition can double their risk of getting cancer, says a new study.
Type 2 adult-onset diabetes causes insulin-like hormones to circulate through the body. The new study has found that this has a surprisingly positive effect on reducing the rate of prostate cancer in men, but is a problem for women: Type 2 diabetes may double the risk of female genital and other cancers.
The new study, led by Dr. Gabriel Chodick and Dr. Varda Shalev of Tel Aviv University's Department of Epidemiology and Preventive Medicine at the Sackler Faculty of Medicine, is not the first to report such a risk.
But it's one of the largest to confirm these findings, and it's the first to determine the statistical differences in cancer risks for men and women.
The researchers looked at 16,721 diabetics, differentiating between men and women and defining the relative cancer risks for each group. When the study began in 2000, none of the subjects had a history of cancer.
Over the following eight years, the researchers documented 1,639 cases of different cancers among people with diabetes, and compared them to occurrences of the same cancers in the healthy non-diabetic population -
a sample of 83,874 people.
"For men, this study is good news," said Chodick.
The study demonstrated that diabetes actually appears to have a preventative effect on conditions like prostate cancer, reducing the risk of cancers associated with insulin-like hormones by a whopping 47 percent. But the opposite is true for women, he said.
The study was recently published in the journal Cancer Causes and Control.