A recent global review, published in Diabetologia (the journal of the European Association for the Study of Diabetes), has shown that having diabetes significantly increases the risk of developing cancer. The risk was found to be higher for women than men, especially for kidney cancer, oral cancer, stomach cancer and leukaemia.
It is believed that high levels of glucose in the blood may lead to DNA damage and the development of cancer.
There are several possible reasons why women were subject to an excess risk of cancer; women tend to be in a pre-diabetic state of impaired glucose tolerance two years longer on average than men.
The researchers said, “Historically we know that women are often under-treated when they first present with symptoms of diabetes, are less likely to receive intensive care and are not taking the same levels of medications as men. All of these could go some way into explaining why women are at greater risk of developing cancer. But, without more research we can’t be certain.
“The differences we found are not insignificant and need addressing. The more we look into gender specific research the more we are discovering that women are not only under-treated, they also have very different risk factors for a whole host of diseases, including stroke, heart disease and now diabetes.”