Diabetes, obesity reasons behind rise in cancer cases across the world

According to a recent study published in Express.co.uk, cancers related to metabolic diseases, especially diabetes and obesity, have an increasingly high incidence.

As per the team’s data, 5.6% of all cancer cases throughout the world in 2012 were linked to pre-existing diabetes and a high body mass index (BMI), which is defined as over 25 kilograms per square metre. Of this total, 3.9% of cases were attributable to diabetes – almost twice as many cases as were related to a high BMI.

Dr Jonathan Pearson-Stuttard, lead author of the study, said, “While obesity has been associated with cancer for some time, the link between diabetes and cancer has only been established quite recently. Our study shows that diabetes – either on its own or combined with being overweight – is responsible for hundreds of thousands of cancer cases each year across the world.”

A surge in both conditions over the last four decades has made the tally significantly worse, the study showed.

The global increase in diabetes between 1980 and 2002 accounted for a quarter of the 8,00,000 cases, while the obesity epidemic over the same period resulted in an additional 30% of cases.

On current trends, the share of cancers attributable to the two conditions will increase by 30% for women and 20% for men in less than 20 years, the scientists warned.

Pearson-Stuttard noted, “In the past, smoking was by far the major risk factor for cancer, but now healthcare professionals should also be aware that patients who have diabetes or are overweight also have an increased risk.”

For men, obesity and diabetes accounted for more than 40% of liver cancers, while for women they were responsible for a third of uterine cancers, and nearly as many cases of breast cancer.

The new study took into account the increase in the incidence of 18 types of cancer related to diabetes and high BMI in 175 countries between 1980 and 2002. The researchers explain that an increase in diabetes diagnoses between 1980 and 2002 caused a 26.1% increase in related cancers in 2012.

“These projections are particularly alarming when considering the high and increasing cost of cancer and metabolic diseases, and highlight the need to improve control measures, and increase awareness of the link between cancer, diabetes, and high BMI,” noted Pearson-Stuttard.

The best solution, according to the researchers, is to make a sustained effort to prevent the rise of metabolic diseases, in order to reduce the future risk of cancer.

The study was published in journal The Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology.

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