Diabetes and Cancer

Diabetes and Cancer 

  • Men and women with diabetes are 10% more likely to have cancer of some kind, according to research involving almost 400,000 individuals.1
  • Compared to those without diabetes, diabetic men were more likely to have colon, pancreas, rectum, urinary bladder, kidney, or prostate cancer; for men, the greatest increase in risk was for pancreatic cancer – the prevalence was four times higher in diabetic men compared to non-diabetic men.
  •  Diabetic women were more likely to have breast cancer, leukemia, or cancer of the uterus (womb).1
  • Although a link exists between diabetes and cancer, there is no proof one causes the other.1
  • On a brighter note, Asian Indians are known to have some of the lowest rates of cancer.1-4 This explains why the all cause mortality among Asian Indians is not particularly high despite very high rates of premature heart disease.
  • Diabetes is also associated with an increased mortality from all cancer types.5 The increasing prevalence of diabetes will translate into substantial clinical and public health consequences on a global scale. Therefore, cancer prevention and early detection should be important components of clinical management of diabetes.5


1. Li C, Balluz LS, Ford ES, Okoro CA, Tsai J, Zhao G. Association between diagnosed diabetes and self-reported cancer among u.s. Adults: findings from the 2009 behavioral risk factor surveillance system. Diabetes Care. Jun 2011;34(6):1365-1368.

2. Mangtani P, Maringe C, Rachet B, Coleman MP, dos Santos Silva I. Cancer mortality in ethnic South Asian migrants in England and Wales (1993-2003): patterns in the overall population and in first and subsequent generations. Br J Cancer. Apr 27 2010;102(9):1438-1443.

3. Metcalfe C, Patel B, Evans S, et al. The risk of prostate cancer amongst South Asian men in southern England: the PROCESS cohort study. BJU Int. Nov 2008;102(10):1407-1412.

4. Sheth T, Nair C, Nargundkar M, Anand S, Yusuf S. Cardiovascular and cancer mortality among Canadians of European, south Asian and Chinese origin from 1979 to 1993: An analysis of 1.2 million deaths. C Med J. 1999;161(2):132-138.

5. Noto H, Tsujimoto T, Sasazuki T, Noda M. Significantly Increased Risk of Cancer in Patients with Diabetes Mellitus. Endocr Pract. Feb 25 2011:1-44.

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