Good News: Type 2 Diabetes Seems to Lower the Risk of Prostate Cancer

Finally some good news! 

People with type 2 diabetes are pounded daily by reports of the increased health risks their disease poses. Sometimes, though, the news from the research front is reassuring: Scientists at the Harlyne Norris Research Center in Los Angeles report that type 2 men are at less risk of developing prostate cancer than men without diabetes.

The study looked at 86,303 men divided among five ethnic groups: African-American, European-American, Japanese-American, Latino, and Native Hawaiian. Of the total group, 5,941 men had prostate cancer. 

However, researchers found that the type 2s as a group had a 19 percent lower incidence of prostate cancer than non-diabetics. There were some ethnic variations: European-Americans ran a 35 percent lower risk of prostate cancer, while African-Americans had an 11 percent reduced risk. 

Scientists found that antigens specific to the prostate gland were lower in men with diabetes than in non-diabetics. The findings suggest that diabetes confers some sort of protection against prostate cancer. The next step, say researchers, is to discover what that factor is and to determine why it manifests itself differently depending upon ethnicity.  

Other than skin cancer, prostate cancer is the most common cancer among American men. Last year, according to American Cancer Society estimates, 186,000 new cases of the cancer were diagnosed in the United States.

About one in six men will be diagnosed with the cancer in his lifetime. Because the cancer is extremely slow growing and highly treatable, however, only one in 35 men will die from it. Current statistics show that with treatment, the five-year survival rate is 100 percent; the 10-year survival rate is 91 percent; and the 15-year survival rate is 76 percent.

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