Past studies have shown a link between type 2 diabetes and an increased risk of developing breast or colon cancer. Now, a recent meta-analysis conducted by Dutch researchers shows that people with type 2 diabetes are not only more likely to develop these cancers, they are more likely to die from them as well. Their findings were presented at the 2013 European Cancer Congress.
The meta-analysis, which is a study that evaluates results from several independent studies, analyzed the results of 20 studies involving over 1.9 million people between 2007 and 2012. The findings showed that people with type 2 diabetes had a 23 percent increased risk of developing breast cancer and a 38 percent increased risk of breast cancer mortality. In addition, type 2 diabetics displayed a 26 percent increased risk of developing colon cancer and a 30 percent increased risk of dying from it.
Kirstin De Bruijn, lead researcher and Ph.D. student at Erasmus University Medical Centre, feels that the evidence is strong enough to warrant concern over the serious health problems associated with type 2 diabetes. De Brujin said, "Worldwide, the numbers of obese and subsequent diabetic patients are still increasing and it is a cause for concern that these individuals are at a higher risk of developing cancer and dying from it.”
While further research is needed to determine the exact link between diabetes and cancer mortality, type 2 diabetics can best protect themselves by taking steps to improve their health. Type 2 diabetes can often be prevented or reversed through moderate lifestyle changes, including:
Increased physical activity – Just 30 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise five days a week can lead to weight loss, lower blood pressure, increased sensitivity to insulin, improved body composition and lowered resting heart rate.
Healthy body weight – Being overweight increases your risk of type 2 diabetes and various types of cancer. Those who are at high risk of developing type 2 diabetes can reverse or delay the disease by losing 5 to 7 percent of their body weight (Source: National Institute of Diabetes).
Healthy diet – A diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grain fiber and lean protein can prevent type 2 diabetes. Avoid foods with excess saturated fat, trans fat, sodium and sugar.
Smoking Cessation – Smoking can increase your risk of type 2 diabetes by at least 30 percent (Source: Dominican Today).