Diabetes May Up Cancer Risk in Women

Diabetes is a global health crisis – reaching far and wide, and impacting nearly every country around the world. In fact, in 2015 more than 400 million people had diabetes. That does not take into the account the millions and millions more with diabetes and not yet diagnosed or those with “pre-diabetes” either.

So, why do so many people have diabetes today than in year’s past?
That’s a good question! There are numerous opinions on the subject, and medical facts connecting everything from increased obesity and weight, changes in lifestyles, along with environmental impacts.

With the increase in diabetes, we are also seeing another connection...with cancer, cancer among women to be exact. This isn’t the first time we’ve heard about a connection between the two, in fact -- previous studies have made the connection.

Cancer is a scary word. It afflicts and ravages families, and it is nearly impossible in this day and age to come into contact with anyone who hasn’t been personally impacted by the disease. Today, nearly 20 million people have cancer worldwide (17.5 million people to be exact).

Recently, researchers found that women with diabetes had a 27 percent higher risk of cancer compared with women without it, while men with diabetes had a 19 percent higher risk of cancer compared with men without it. By comparing men and women, researchers found that women with diabetes had a 6 percent higher risk of cancer than men with diabetes.

In the study, which was published in the journal Diabetologia, researchers reviewed previous studies that reported a link between cancer and diabetes. In total, after adjusting for age and single gender, they ended up analyzing data from more than 19 million individuals with diabetes (both types of diabetes, type 1 and type 2) across more than 100 studies and data sets.

It isn’t entirely clear as of yet why women with diabetes would have a higher risk of most cancers than men with diabetes do, but researchers had some ideas and hypotheses. One example, having higher blood glucose levels can damage DNA, which in turn could lead to cancer. Women also tend to spend longer duration than men in the “pre-diabetic” stage and after diagnosis of diabetes, women are often undertreated or not getting the same level of treatment as men. In fact, a 2015 study showed that women were less likely than men to take medication to lower blood glucose levels.

In other words, uncontrolled blood sugar levels for longer periods of time may put women at greater risk of developing cancer than men.

The best preventative measure, until more is known, is to keep your blood sugar in control and avoid the high highs and the low lows. Even and steady blood sugar levels throughout the day and that goes for everyone – men and women with and without diabetes.

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