Researchers explore whether type 2 diabetes induces the development of cancer
Swedish researchers have set out to determine why individuals with type 2 diabetes seem to have a higher risk of developing cancer.
Type 2 diabetes is considered one of the greatest challenges for public healthcare and affects between two and 20 percent of the population in industrialized countries.
Led by Kari Hemminki, the team examined 125,126 Swedish patients who had been hospitalized due to complications arising from type 2 diabetes. They found that people with the condition have a significantly elevated risk of pancreatic and liver cell cancer, compared to those in the general population. Diabetics also appeared to have twice the risk of developing cancer in the kidneys, thyroid gland, esophagus, small intestine and nervous system.
However, they discovered that people with type 2 diabetes seem to have a much lower rate of prostate cancer.
"Right now, we can only speculate about the causes," Hemminki said. "Possibly a lower level of male sex hormones in diabetics may be among the factors that are responsible for this."
However, the scientists stress that more research must be conducted to verify these preliminary findings. More questions need to be answered, including whether diabetes triggers processes in the body that promote cancer onset or growth.