Study Review Confirms Link Between Diabetes and Colon Cancer: A research team has recently discovered through a review of a previous study that people who have diabetes are more likely to develop colon cancer. The researchers commented, however, that they are unsure of the reason behind the connection between the two diseases or what can be done about it. The findings were published in the American Journal of Gastroenterology.

Researchers arrived at the findings by evaluating results from 14 international studies. The results showed that people with diabetes were 38 percent more likely to develop colon cancer than non-diabetics.

The investigations from which the data was drawn were observational studies, demonstrating that people with diabetes were at an increased risk of colon cancer. The researchers adjusted for factors that may have skewed the results, including obesity, age, and smoking. Even after the adjustment for such factors, there appeared to still be a link between diabetes and colon cancer.

“I think we can make the statement that diabetes is consistently associated with colorectal cancer,” says Dr. Edward Giovannucci of the Harvard School of Public Health. Dr. Giovannucci is not associated with the research team that performed the study.

“The cause-and-effect aspect is a bit difficult to consider since diabetes is such a complex disease,” said Dr. Giovannucci. Although many doctors, including Dr. Giovannucci, are fairly certain that diabetes and colon cancer are connected in some way, it`s still unclear how the diseases are connected.

The study, conducted at the University of California Berkeley, was headed by Dr. Hiroki Yuhara. According to Dr. Yuhara, doctors typically do not recommend that diabetes patients receive earlier or more frequent screening for colon cancer. Although risk factors such as inflammatory bowel disease and a family history of colon cancer do often warrant earlier screening, it is unclear whether diabetes will be added to the list of those factors. Most doctors recommend that patients begin screening for colon cancer, using methods such as colonoscopies, sigmoidoscopies, and tests for blood in the stool, at age 50.

Although diabetes appears to be associated with colon cancer in some capacity, it appears that the relationship is not as serious as was once thought. The American Cancer Society conducted a study demonstrating that men with diabetes had a 25 percent increase in risk of colon cancer, but that risk was less severe than scientists had previously thought. In addition, research has not proven that the same link between diabetes and colon cancer also exists in women.

Source: Press Release