- Diabetes and cancer have common risk factors, especially related to modern lifestyles
- Researchers studied the temporal relationship between the diagnosis of diabetes and cancer
- They found that cancer is more commonly diagnosed within 3 months of the diagnosis of diabetes, or in the 10 year period before the diagnosis.
Diabetes patients have an increased risk of cancer detection within 3 months of the diabetes diagnosis, or in the 10-year period preceding the diagnosis. A study indicating the same was published in the journal Cancer.
Patients with type 2 diabetes have been found to be at a risk of developing cancer and vice versa. Cancers like those affecting the pancreas, liver, colon and rectum, urinary tract, breast and female reproductive organs have been noted in diabetes patients. The epidemic of diabetes may also cause a particularly high number of cancer cases. Diabetes and cancer have been linked to several common factors:
‘Diagnosis of cancer is more likely within 3 months of the diagnosis of diabetes, or in the 10 year period before it.’
- Both often affect older individuals
- Both are modern lifestyle-related disorders and are often a consequence of unhealthy diet, inadequate physical activity, smoking and alcohol intake
- Both often have a genetic basis
- Metabolic changes like insulin resistance, high blood glucose levels or hyperglycemia, high insulin levels and an inflammatory process may predispose to both the conditions.
- Both require long-term treatment and result in a huge financial burden on the patient as well as the health care system.
Researchers from Ontario, Canada tried to find a temporal relationship between diabetes and cancer. They collected data from more than 1 million adults for the purpose. They found that:
- Cancer was more common within three months following the diagnosis of diabetes. The risk of cancer diagnosis decreased in the later period
- Diabetes patients were 1.23-times more likely to be diagnosed with cancer in the 10-year period before the diagnosis of diabetes as compared to those who did not suffer from diabetes.
Before you can conclude that you will suffer from cancer if you are a diabetic, it must be made clear that not all people with diabetes will suffer from cancer. One of the possible causes of an increased risk of cancer detection in diabetes patients, as suggested by the researchers, is an increased contact with health care professionals following the diagnosis of diabetes. The tests which are done during this period may result in the detection of cancer. On the other hand, the cases of cancer diagnosed before the onset of diabetes may indicate the association between diabetes and cancer.
One thing is sure, the effects of a healthy diet and adequate physical exercise on the risk of diabetes cannot be underestimated. There is no replacement for a healthy lifestyle to keep diseases like diabetes and cancer at bay.
- The temporal relationship between diabetes and cancer. Iliana C. Lega, Andrew S. Wilton, Peter C. Austin, Hadas D. Fischer, Jeffrey A. Johnson, and Lorraine L. Lipscombe. CANCER; Published Online: July 11, 2016 (DOI: 10.1002/cncr.30095).
- Gupta Y (2015) Double Jeopardy: Dealing with Diabetes and Cancer. J Diabetes Metab 6:578. doi:10.4172/2155-6156.1000578