Diabetes and Cancer: The Link Between the Two Diseases

In the last decade, researchers have proven that there is a strong link between diabetes and cancer. A study published in Diabetes Care states that evidence suggests that people with diabetes are at significantly higher risk for many forms of cancer.” This means that the 30 million Americans who have diabetes are more likely to develop cancer at some time.

Why is there a link between diabetes and cancer?

Researchers have not identified exactly why the correlation exists. The same article in Diabetes Care states that research hasn’t determined “whether the association between diabetes and cancer is direct (e.g., due to hyperglycemia), whether diabetes is a marker of underlying biologic factors that alter cancer risk (e.g., insulin resistance and hyperinsulinemia), or whether the cancer-diabetes association is indirect and due to common risk factors such as obesity.” Though the cause isn’t clear, the correlation is.

 

Similar Risk Factors

One thing experts are sure of is that the risk factors for cancer and diabetes are similar.  That means that the factors that increase your risk for diabetes are the same factors that increase your risk for cancer. This could explain the link. Some of the risk factors for both diseases include:

-Obesity

-Smoking

-Diet

-Excessive alcohol use

-Lack of Exercise

 

However, it should be noted that Type II diabetes and some forms of cancer, such as colon cancer, can be prevented. Of course, if the risk factors are the same, the prevention methods are similar as well. You can prevent diabetes and some cancers by avoiding cigarettes and alcohol and by maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Diet and exercise are important components for preventing (and reversing) disease.

 

Death from Cancer

Not only is there a link between the two diseases, evidence has shown that those who have diabetes are more likely to die from cancer than those who do not. According to The New York Times, The National Cancer Institute found that “having diabetes was associated with an 11 percent risk of dying from cancer among women and a 17% increased risk of cancer death among men.”

 

Diabetes in the United States is a very serious disease. There is a strong link between diabetes and cancer, which could be because they share the same risk factors. Those with diabetes who do develop cancer have a greater chance of death.

 

If you are worried about developing diabetes, please see your doctor to find out ways to prevent the disease. You may also decrease your risk of cancer by doing so.