(HealthDay News) – The incidence of cancer and the mortality rate due to cancer is higher in people with type 2 diabetes compared to those without the condition, according to a study published in the January issue of Diabetes Care.

Hsin-Chieh Yeh, PhD, of Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, and colleagues sought to quantify the association between patients being treated for diabetes and cancer incidence and outcomes. They evaluated prospective data from 17,681 adults without diabetes and 599 patients with self-reported use of medication to treat type 2 diabetes. Cancer incidence information for these individuals was obtained from state and county cancer registries, and mortality data were collected from death certificates.

The researchers found the age-adjusted incidence of cancer to be 13.25 per 1,000 person-years in adults with diabetes compared with 10.58 per 1,000 person-years in adults without diabetes. After adjusting for potential confounders, the risk of incident cancer was 22 percent higher in people with diabetes than in those without the condition, and the risk of death due to cancer was 36 percent higher. Among individuals who developed cancer, the risk of death due to cancer and the risk of death due to any cause were higher in adults with diabetes. Diabetes appeared to play a greater role in cancer mortality rather than in incidence rates for colorectal, breast, and prostate cancers.

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“Our study suggests that for many common cancers like colon, breast, and prostate, diabetes exerts a stronger adverse influence downstream, after cancer occurs, than upstream, in relation to incident cancer risk. Whether improvements in diabetes management might reduce the risk of mortality in cancer patients with preexisting cancer deserves further attention,” the authors write.

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