Are diabetics at higher risk of getting cancer?

Over years the relation between cancer and diabetes has become an area of interest for endocrinologists and oncologists. While a large number of research suggests people with high diabetes are at higher risk of developing cancer, a few others suggest some diabetes.

A large scale systematic study done in 2018 conducted by researchers led by Dr. Toshiaki Ohkuma, from the George Institute for Global Health at the University of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia which assessed the health-related data of almost 20 million people claims to establish firm link between diabetes and cancer. The study even claims that women with diabetes are at higher risk than men.

Another research tries explaining ‘why’ diabetes may increase the risk of cancer. A group of researchers presenting their work in American Chemical Society (ACS) in 2019, claimed DNA sustains more damage and gets fixed less often when blood sugar levels are high, thereby increasing cancer risk.

In another confusing research finding, which in fact stands contradictory to the above two findings, it has been claimed that diabetic people who are treated with Metformin (an approved drug for diabetes) has lower risk of developing cancer.  

Since diabetes can often lead to obesity and since obese people with sedentary lifestyle are at higher risk of cancer, we can draw an indirect connection between diabetes and cancer.

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