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New type of cancer risk linked to type 2 diabetes

Kathleen Blanchard's picture
Increased risk of blood cancer linked to type 2 diabetes.

People living with type 2 diabetes appear to be 20% more likely to develop blood cancer, find Miriam Hospital researchers. The finding means patients living with the disease should be diligent about blood sugar control. It also highlights the importance of finding ways to prevent diabetes.

Increasing evidence of higher cancer risk with type 2 diabetes

The study adds to increasing evidence that type 2 diabetes raises the risk of different types of cancer and not just kidney and heart disease

Lead author Jorge Castillo, M.D., a hematologist/oncologist with The Miriam Hospital said in a press release…” when you consider that more than 19 million Americans have been diagnosed with diabetes – not to mention the millions more who are either undiagnosed or will be diagnosed in the future – a 20 percent increased risk of blood cancer is quite significant.”

Blood cancer linked to diabetes include non-Hodgkin lymphoma, leukemia and myeloma. Previous studies show diabetes puts people a risk for liver and pancreatic cancer.

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The study included an analysis of 26 published research articles. The authors found the risk of blood cancer that included leukemia, myeloma and non-Hodgkin lymphoma, in addition to peripheral T-cell lymphoma that is related to non-Hodgkin lymphoma, seemed to vary by geographic location.

Leukemia risk for diabetics was more prevalent in America and Asia, while non-Hodgkin lymphoma risk was higher in Europe and Asia.

The researchers aren’t certain what other factors might contribute to blood cancer in addition to type 2 diabetes. They suggest future studies focus on smoking status, weight, activity and other possible contributors.

“It’s important to remember that type 2 diabetes can, to some degree, be prevented and controlled through lifestyle modification, such as diet and exercise,” Castillo said. “So by preventing the onset of type 2 diabetes, we could also prevent blood cancer.”

The Miriam Hospital
June 5, 2012

Image credit: Morguefile