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What effect does diabetes have on colon cancer?

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Updated: March 2, 2008

Question: What effect does diabetes have on colon cancer?

Answer:

People with diabetes have a greater chance of developing colon cancer. They also tend to have lower survival rates and higher recurrence rates.

Impact of Diabetes on Colon Cancer Risk

A study published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute examined data from more than two million colorectal cancer patients to determine the impact of diabetes on colon cancer risk. The researchers reported that diabetics have a 20-40% increased risk of developing colon cancer.

Other studies have determined that people with diabetes have a 60% increased risk of developing colon cancer. The actual percentage increase may not be that clear, but the take-home message is: if you have diabetes, you're at increased risk for colon cancer. For information on ways to minimize your risk, please read Top 10 Colon Cancer Prevention Tips.

Impact of Diabetes on Colon Cancer Recurrence and Survival

A study published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology found that over a ten-year period, diabetics with colon cancer didn't fare as well as non-diabetics with colon cancer. People with diabetes were 21% more likely to have a recurrence and they were 42% less likely to survive. For more information on factors that influence survival, please read Colon Cancer Survival Rates.

Related Research:

For general information about diabetes, please watch About's video: Causes and Effects of Diabetes.

Sources:

Colon Cancer A Major Problem For Diabetics. American Cancer Society. 19 Feb. 2003. 30 Aug. 2006 [http://www.cancer.org/docroot/NWS/content/NWS_1_1x_Colon_Cancer_A_Major_Problem_For_Diabetics.asp].

Larsson, S. and Orsini, N. "Diabetes Mellitus and Risk of Colorectal Cancer: A Meta-Analysis." Journal of the National Cancer Institute 97.22 (Nov. 2005): 1679-1687. 30 Aug. 2006.

Meyerhardt, J. and Catalano, P. "Impact of Diabetes Mellitus on Outcomes in Patients With Colon Cancer." Journal of Clinical Oncology 21.3 (Feb. 2003): 433-440. 30 Aug. 2006 [http://www.jco.org/cgi/content/abstract/21/3/433].

Renehan and Shalet. "Diabetes, Insulin Therapy, and Colorectal Cancer." British Medical Journal 330 (Mar. 2005): 551-552. 30 Aug. 2006.

Seow, A. and Yuan, J. "Diabetes Mellitus and Risk of Colorectal Cancer in the Singapore Chinese Health Study." Journal of the National Cancer Institute 98.2 (Jan. 2006): 135-138. 30 Aug. 2006.

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