Diabetic women at greater risk of cancer

Women with diabetes are at greater risk of cancer than men, a new review has found.
Women with diabetes are at greater risk of cancer than men, a new review has found.

Diabetes is linked with an increased risk of developing cancer particularly among women, new research suggests.

A review of 47 studies involving almost 20 million people has shown for the first time that women with the condition are at a greater risk than men of developing any form of the disease, the authors said.

They warned the gender differences were "not insignificant" and needed addressing.

The research by The George Institute for Global Health, an affiliate of the University of Oxford, found women with diabetes are 27 per cent more likely to develop cancer than women without the condition.

Diabetes among men was linked with a 19 per cent higher risk, according to the findings, published in journal Diabetologia.

Overall, the researchers found women with diabetes are 6 per cent more likely to develop any form of cancer than men with diabetes.

"Historically we know that women are often under-treated when they first present with symptoms of diabetes, are less likely to receive intensive care and are not taking the same levels of medications as men,"co-author Dr Sanne Peters, of the George Institute, said.

"All of these could go some way into explaining why women are at greater risk of developing cancer."

"But, without more research we can't be certain."

Women with diabetes have an 11 per cent higher chance of developing kidney cancer, 13 per cent higher chance of oral cancer, 14 per cent higher chance of stomach cancer and 15 per cent higher chance of leukaemia, compared to men with the condition, the research found.

It is believed that heightened blood glucose may have cancer-causing effects by leading to DNA damage.

Lead author and research fellow at the institute, Dr Toshiaki Ohkuma, said: "The link between diabetes and the risk of developing cancer is now firmly established."

Australian Associated Press