Diabetes and Colorectal Cancer Risk

by Mark Benson on September 30, 2011

Colorectal cancer and diabetes risks

In a recent study conducted at the University of California at Berkeley, individuals suffering from diabetes mellitus are under greater risk of developing colorectal cancer. More commonly known as bowel cancer, there is still a great deal of study to be undertaken to establish the link between diabetes and colorectal cancer.

The study is composed of a research conducted of fourteen other international studies. In collating all the data, the researchers from the University of California at Berkeley found that diabetics have a thirty eight percent higher risk of developing colon cancer compared to diabetes-free individuals. Broken between the sexes, men have a twenty percent higher risk of developing this particular cancer compared to women.

According to Hiroku Yuhara, research lead of the study said, “This data suggests that diabetes mellitus is an independent risk factor for colon and rectal cancer.” He further added that diabetics should be made aware of the risk of developing colon cancer through doctor’s advice and timely screening for the cancer. The researchers further advised that doctors need to be properly advised of the increased risk for colorectal cancer in their diabetic patients. As of the moment, the research still has to determine the correlation between the two conditions.

“These data suggest that diabetes mellitus is an independent risk factor for colon and rectal cancer,” Yuhara and his colleagues wrote as a conclusion in the study to be published in the American Journal of Gastroenterology. The study also adjusted factors such as age, smoking and obesity but the diabetes and colorectal cancer connection remained quite clear.

One theory for the connection is the involvement of hormones. In diabetes, the hormone insulin is either absent or in low levels resulting in blood sugar levels. Also found in diabetics is the presence of high levels of blood-sugar-regulating hormones, which may be contributory to the growth of other cells, such as cancer cells.

This risk is further enhanced if these patients smoke, are obese or have unhealthy lifestyles. According to a recent American Cancer Society report, an estimated 101,000 individuals would be diagnosed with colon cancer in 2011 and 40,000 of this number may also have rectal cancer.

With diabetes, proper management and regular check-ups are in order to keep the condition in check as well as lowering other risk factors for other complications.

The opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of the DiabetesForum.com Community and should not be interpreted as medical advice. Please see your doctor before making any changes to your diabetes management plan.

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