Diabetes is a chronic disease that has been linked to an increase in overall mortality and morbidity. Recent studies agree that suffering from diabetes represents a higher mortality risk, not only due to cardiovascular complications, but also to a higher probability of developing cancer.
There is a relation between an increase risk of developing certain types of cancer (liver, pancreas, breast, endometrial, colon, bladder) but the connection remains to be completely elucidated. It might be caused by a higher insulin or glucose level, chronic inflammation, or the fact that both diseases share risk factors such as old age, obesity, sedentary lifestyle, inadequate diet, tobacco or alcohol use.
Despite advanced treatments, diabetes mortality is high. Studies indicate that there is a twofold to threefold higher mortality risk on diabetes patients, by all causes, in contrast with individuals without diabetes. Thus, it is important to have regular checkups for cancer on patients with diabetes, as well as to promote preventive vaccination (human papillomavirus vaccine), lifestyle interventions and health campaigns to stop smoking.
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Giovannucci E, Harlan DM, Archer MC, Bergenstal RM, Gapstur SM, Habel LA, et al. Diabetes and cancer: A consensus report. Can Jour Clin 2010; 60 (4): 207-221. DOI: 10.3322/caac.20078