It has been previously suggested by study results that being diagnosed with diabetes meant that you were at a higher risk for also having thyroid cancer. That hypothesis has been tested and proven true, at least for retirement-age adults. A recent study published in the journal Thyroid links [type 2] diabetes with an increased incidence of thyroid cancer in older patients.

Conducted by epidemiologists associated with the National Cancer Institute (NCI) and the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the study examined patients aged 50 to 71. The results demonstrated that participants who had been diagnosed with diabetes were 25 percent more likely to also develop thyroid cancer within 10 years.

The study analyzed data collected from almost 500,000 men and women who participated in the NIH-American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) Diet and Health Study, which was conducted in 1995 and 1996. At baseline, researchers used questionnaires to collect health information about the participants, including questions related to pancreatic health, incidence of [type 2] diabetes, body mass index, and other health-related variables.

A decade later, researchers followed up with many of the participants of that study and conducted health examinations. The new that demonstrates the link between [type 2] diabetes and thyroid disease utilized the data collected in the follow-ups.

After combing through the data, researchers discovered that nearly 1 in 10 participants reported being diagnosed with [type 2] diabetes at the initial questionnaire. Those individuals demonstrated a greater risk of developing thyroid cancer than those who did not have [type2] diabetes at the initial questionnaire stage.

The increased risk of thyroid cancer was significant, at an average of 25 percent. Women were significantly more likely than men to be diagnosed with thyroid cancer; the diabetic women had a 46 percent chance of developing thyroid cancer, while the men in the study showed only a 4 percent chance of developing thyroid cancer.

Results of a similar study were published about ten years ago in the journal Clinical Diabetes. In a 2000 issue of the journal, Patricia Wu, endocrinologist at the University of California in San Diego, estimated that 6.6 percent of Americans have some type of thyroid condition. Dr. Wu continued on to state that the incidence of thyroid conditions is higher in diabetics, at about 10.8 percent.

Scientists are as yet unsure about the exact mechanism that causes diabetes to predict an increased risk of thyroid cancer. However, some believe that the diseases are related since they are both disorders of the endocrine system. Thyroid Today notes that the diseases share another relationship in that they are both associated with increased body mass, autoimmune problems, and elevated risk in old age.

Source: Press Release