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Diabetes Raises Cancer Risk

Research based on a telephone survey of 400,000 adults has linked diabetes with a higher risk for certain types of cancers, according to a study conducted by researchers at the Center for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta.

The findings were published online in the Diabetes Care Journal on April 19, 2011.

The researchers found that 16 out of every 100 diabetic men and 17 out of every 100 diabetic women self reported that they had cancer. For non-diabetic adults, the numbers are 7 per 100 and 10 per 100, respectively.

After controlling for other factors that affect health (such as smoking, drinking, age, and race), diabetics on average were 10% more likely to have a cancer diagnosis than non-diabetics.

The types of cancers reported also varied by gender. Diabetic men saw more colon, pancreas, rectum, urinary, bladder, kidney, and prostate cancers when compared with non-diabetic men. Women, on the other hand, reported more breast cancer, leukemia, and cancer of the womb when compared with their non-diabetic counterparts.

This is not the first study to link diabetes with cancer, but at this point it is unclear whether or not there is a causal link. The researchers emphasized that this study points to the need for diabetics to do regular cancer screenings with their general practitioner.

Diet is one of the most important aspects of both preventing and managing diabetes. Eating more foods high in fiber, omega-3s, calcium, and vitamin D can be helpful. Getting regular exercise, maintaining a healthy weight and quitting smoking are also very important for preventing diabetes.

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