Higher cancer risk for women with diabetes: major Aussie study

SYDNEY -- Having diabetes significantly increases the risk of getting cancer, with women facing higher risks, according to a major study by Australian researchers.

Women with diabetes were also at greater risk than men of getting leukemia and stomach, mouth and kidney cancers, the George Institute for Global Health medical research group said in a statement on Friday.

The findings from its researchers, who reviewed the health information of nearly 20 million people worldwide, showed that women with diabetes were 27 percent more likely to develop cancer than women without it. For men, the risk was 19 percent higher. The numbers "highlight the need for more research into the role diabetes plays in developing cancer" and "demonstrate the increasing importance of sex specific research," said the group.

Heightened blood glucose levels from the medical condition may have cancer-causing effects by leading to DNA damage, it said.

"The link between diabetes and the risk of developing cancer is now firmly established," said the institute's research fellow, Dr. Toshiaki Ohkuma, lead author of the findings published in medical journal Diabetologia.

"The number of people with diabetes has doubled globally in the last 30 years but we still have much to learn about the condition. It's vital that we undertake more research into discovering what is driving this, and for both people with diabetes and the medical community to be aware of the heightened cancer risk for women and men with diabetes," said Ohkuma.

Diabetes affects more than 415 million people worldwide, with 5 million deaths linked to it every year, said the institute. The disease is the fastest-growing chronic condition in Australia, with 280 people developing it every day. (Xinhuanet)