Diabetes is linked with an increased risk of developing cancer particularly among women, new study suggests.
The research showed for the first time that women with the condition are at a greater risk than men of developing any form of the disease, the authors said. The researchers however, warned the gender differences were “not insignificant” and needed addressing.
The review analyzing the data collected by 47 studies from across the globe — including the United States, United Kingdom, China, Australia, and Japan, to name but a few — confirms, beyond doubt, that diabetes heightens the risk for cancer.
The study authors note that women with diabetes are especially affected. They appear to be more exposed than men to the development of malign tumors.
The findings of this global review — which assessed the health-related data of almost 20 million people — are discussed in a paper now published in the journal Diabetologia.
The review was conducted by researchers led by Dr. Toshiaki Ohkuma, from the George Institute for Global Health at the University of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia.
His colleagues hailed from the University of Oxford in the U.K., and Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, MD.
Dr. Ohkuma and his colleagues discovered not only that diabetes — both type 1 and type 2 — put people at risk of developing specific types of cancer, but also that this risk is much higher for women than it is for men.
Women with diabetes are 27 percent likelier to develop cancer, compared with healthy women. By contrast, men with diabetes are 19 percent more likely to develop cancer than healthy men.
And, women with diabetes are 6 percent likelier than men with the same diagnosis to develop a type of cancer.
Specifically, in contrast to men with a diagnosis of diabetes, women with this condition have an 11 percent higher risk of developing kidney cancer, a 13 percent higher risk for oral cancer, and a 14 percent higher chance of developing stomach cancer, as well as a 15 percent higher chance of being diagnosed with leukemia.
One exception was liver cancer, for which men with diabetes have a 12 percent higher risk than women with the same metabolic condition.
“We have also demonstrated for the first time,” he adds, “that women with diabetes are more likely to develop any form of cancer, and have a significantly higher chance of developing kidney, oral, and stomach cancers and leukemia.”