Study Reveals Association Between Type 2 Diabetes and Risk of Death from Cancer in East and South Asians

A new study published online on March 7, 2017 in Diabetologia (the journal of the European Association for the Study of Diabetes [EASD]) reveals that type 2 diabetes (T2D) is associated with a 26% increase in the risk of death from cancer in Asians, as well as increases in the risk of death from site-specific cancers that can be even greater. The research conducted by Dr. Yu Chen (Associate Professor of Epidemiology at the Department of Population Health at New York University School of Medicine) and colleagues, as well as researchers from institutes across America and Asia, looked into the relationship between T2D and cancer deaths across cohort studies conducted in seven Asian countries. There is increasing evidence of an association between T2D and an individual's risk of developing cancer or dying from the disease. Most of the studies into this relationship have looked only at Western populations, but with diabetes becoming increasingly prevalent throughout Asia, it is important to understand whether the risk of developing cancer in Asians with T2D is similar to that seen in the West, or whether they face different, and possibly greater risks than white western populations. Earlier 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 T2D in comparison with people of European extraction. Although there have been previous studies of diabetes and site-specific cancer risk in East Asian populations, the authors note that the majority only considered one or a few cancer types, included only a small number of patients with diabetes, or didn't control for other important risk factors such as obesity.
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