Study Finds Diabetics Twice as Likely to Develop Cancer


diabeticAccording to a study done by a team from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, diabetics are twice as likely to develop certain cancers compared to people who do not suffer from the blood sugar disease.

The Study

Published in the Diabetes Care journal, the study reveals that people suffering from diabetes have twice the risk of suffering from some certain cancer types compared to people without diabetes. The study was a result of work done by a team from the CDC led by Dr. Chaoyang Li.

The sample size was 400,000 adults with the participants being contacted by phone. External factors such as race, age, drinking and smoking habits had been taken into account before participants were selected.


The study found that 17% of women and 16% of men with diabetes develop cancer with comparative figures of the general population standing at 10% and 7% respectively developing cancer.

It was found that diabetics are more prone than other people in the general population to getting rectum, pancreas, colon, breast, prostrate, kidney and urinary bladder cancers. Diabetic men are 400% more prone to develop pancreatic cancer than other cancers and this is an alarming probability. In women, those with diabetes are three times more prone to developing blood cancer compared to those without the disease.

Similar Studies

Baltimore’s Johns Hopkins University, Dr. Fred Brancati who is a professor at the institution notes that the study has highlighted that quite a large number of Americans have cancer and diabetes, and he concurs with the authors that the two conditions should be considered together. Brancati was not in any way involved in the report, but published his own research in 2008 that revealed the cancer death rate to be 40% higher in those with diabetes compared to general population figures. This research also showed that there was a clear correlation between the blood sugar disease and cancer risk.

Dr. Li recognized that other reports have found a link between the diseases, but no proof has been found that one of the diseases causes the other. The study done by the CDC team however, was a snapshot taking into account medical histories of the persons in the sample and did not follow the participants over time.

Dr. Li however, stresses that the findings should serve as a reminder to diabetics, as well as their doctors, on the need to follow guidelines on cancer screening and to always discuss the cancer risk possibility in anti-diabetic therapy.

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