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Study Finds Association Between Prediabetes and Increased Cancer Risk

Results from previous individual studies that have looked at the link between prediabetes and cancer have been controversial. For a new study, researchers pooled the data from several such studies and found that prediabetes was associated with a 15% increased overall risk of developing cancer.

Prediabetes is when a person’s blood glucose levels are higher than normal but not high enough to be type-2 diabetes. People with prediabetes are more likely to develop type-2 diabetes and may already be dealing with problems arising from diabetes.

The analysis looked at 16 studies that included a total of 891,426 participants from Asia, USA, Europe and Africa. After examining the data, the found that prediabetes was associated with a 15% increased risk of cancer regardless of cancer endpoint, age, duration of follow-up, or ethnicity of participant.

Higher BMI has also been associated with increased cancer risk, so the researchers performed a separate analysis of just the studies that adjusted for BMI, They found that, after controlling for BMI, prediabetes was associated with a 22% increased risk in developing cancer.

When the researchers examined specific types of cancer, they found that prediabetes significantly increased the risk of stomach/colorectum, liver, pancreas, breast, and endometrium cancer. They did not, however, find an association between prediabetes and increased risk of bronchus/lung cancer, prostate, ovary, kidney, or bladder cancer.

Researchers from The First People’s Hospital of Shunde in China conducted the study. It was published in the September 2014 issue of Diabetologia.

A healthy diet and regular exercise are very important for reducing the risk of prediabetes and diabetes. Previous studies suggest that the antioxidants found in coffee, a compound called resveratrol that’s found in red wine, and omega-3s found primarily in fish may also help.

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