2. Elevated cancer risk before and after diabetes diagnosis

People who have diabetes may have a higher chance of developing cancer either before or immediately after receiving a diagnosis of diabetes, according to a study published online in the American Cancer Society's journal, Cancer.

Previous studies have suggested that people with type 2 diabetes have a higher risk of developing several different types of cancer. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) note that, in 2014, 29.1 million people, or 9.3 percent of the population of the United States, had diabetes, more than 3 times higher than in 1980. Diabetes has been linked to heart disease, stroke, and damage to nerves and eye issues. There is also growing evidence of a link between type 2 diabetes and some types of cancer.

Apart from shared risk factors, other suggestions to explain a link between various types of cancer and type 2 diabetes include the possibility of a biological link between the two, or that treatments for diabetes impact either the development or diagnosis of cancer. Researchers from the University of Toronto, led by Dr. Iliana Lega, examined data for more than 1 million adults to assess the incidence of cancer at a variety of time points in their lives. Findings showed that, compared with people without diabetes, patients with diabetes were 1.23 times more likely to have had a diagnosis of cancer in the 10 years before finding out they had diabetes.

Dr. Lega suggests that this could be due to the extra screening that follows a diagnosis of diabetes. The team believes that the findings are important because they emphasize the need for more research into the effect that exercise and a healthy diet can have on cancer risk, especially among patients who either have or are at risk of developing diabetes.

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