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Diabetes ups death risk from cancer in Asians

NEW YORK —  Type 2 diabetes (T2D) is associated with 26% increased risk of death from any cancer of kidney, thyroid, liver and prostate in Asians, according to a cohort-based study.

The new findings, based on seven Asian countries — China, Taiwan, Singapore, South Korea, Japan, India, and Bangladesh — showed that having Type 2 diabetes led to a 26 per cent increase in the risk of dying from any form of cancer, even when taking into account factors such as BMI, alcohol consumption and smoking.

For the study, the team analysed 19 cohorts with a population of 658,611 east Asians and 112,686 South Asians.The average age of participants was 53.9 at the start of the study, and 37,343 cancer deaths were identified during a mean follow-up time of 12.7 years.

This is the first large study of its kind to focus on Asian populations, according to the authors, but previous studies on other racial and ethnic groups found similar results.

Previous research had suggested that at any given body mass index (BMI), Asians are more susceptible to developing insulin resistance, and go on to have a higher prevalence of Type 2 diabetes in comparison with Europeans.

Furthermore, statistically significant links were found between Type 2 diabetes and the risk of death from cancers of liver, pancreas, bile duct, colorectum and breast.

The strongest association was observed for cancers of the liver, thyroid and kidney (double risk in each case), and endometrium (2.7 times increased risk) and breast (1.7 times increased risk).

“Type 2 diabetes should be considered as a risk factor for cancers in Asians, especially for liver cancer which has a high incidence in Asians,” said Yu Chen, Associate Professor at the New York University School of Medicine.

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But diabetes was not statistically significantly associated with risk of death from leukemia and cancers of the bladder, cervix, esophagus, stomach, and lung.

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