Diabetes and Cancer: A Consensus Report

The American Diabetes Association and the American Cancer Society have issued a joint consensus statement that acknowledges some links between diabetes and cancer but also notes there are numerous questions that have yet to be answered.

The statement was published online June 16 in Cancer. Diabetes‚ particularly type 2‚ is associated with an increased risk of certain cancers such as liver‚ pancreas‚ endometrium‚ colorectal‚ breast‚ and bladder. However‚ the report also notes that diabetes is linked to a lower risk for prostate cancer‚ while for other cancers there is no association with diabetes or inconclusive evidence. Researchers have yet to determine if the association between diabetes and some cancers is direct‚ if diabetes is a marker of underlying biological factors‚ or if the association is indirect and due to common risk factors.

“Probably the most important point to re-emphasize is that modifiable risk factors (overweight‚ obesity‚ lack of exercise‚ poor diet‚ and smoking) contribute to both diabetes and cancer risk‚ probably in part through similar mechanisms‚ such as insulin resistance and increased inflammation‚” said Dr. Edward Giovannucci‚ of the Harvard School of Public Health‚ who led the ADA/ACS panel that wrote the statement.

“Patients with diabetes also have a higher mortality from all causes‚ including cancer‚ and should receive regular cancer screenings according to standard recommendations‚” said Dr. Michael Pollak‚ a professor of medicine and oncology at McGill University in Montreal and one of the report’s authors.

Read the full report here.

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