October 24, 2014
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Study: Colorectal cancer more prevalent in diabetic men

Men with diabetes may want to be more vigilant about screening for cancer, following a study that reports an elevated risk of colorectal cancer amongst this group.

The findings, published in the journal Diabetes Care, indicated that diabetic men had a 49% greater likelihood of developing colon and rectal cancer. Colorectal cancer affects the colon and rectum. It usually develops from polyps (tissue growth) that form in the lining of the colon or rectum.

Study researchers surmise that the results show a relationship between insulin resistance (the inability of the body to use insulin properly) and colorectal cancer. "These observations support the hypothesis that hyperinsulinemia or factors associated with insulin resistance…may play a role in colorectal carcinogenesis," wrote the investigators.

The researchers, led by Susanna Larsson of the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, Sweden, noted that although previous epidemiological studies drew a link between colorectal cancer and diabetes, not all of these studies came to the same conclusion.

They tracked more than 45,000 Swedish men between the ages of 45 and 79. They found 411 cases of colorectal cancer developed among the group over an average six-year period. After factoring in a number of variables, the researchers discovered that having diabetes was associated with nearly a 50% increased risk of developing colon and rectal cancer. The study authors noted additional insulin-connected factors that are closely related to an increased risk for colorectal cancer.

"Dietary and lifestyle factors related to insulin resistance and hyperinsulinemia, including a westernized diet, physical inactivity and obesity, have been linked to (an) increased colorectal cancer risk. Also, a recent study reported that chronic insulin therapy was related to a significant increased risk of colorectal cancer among patients with type 2 diabetes," the researchers wrote.


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