A new study carried out by Imperial College London has revealed that diabetes and High Body Mass Index, BMI, contribute six percent to the global burden of cancer.
According to the first study to quantify the proportion of cancers attributable to diabetes and high BMI published in The Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology journal,the two major health issues were the cause of 5.6 percent of new cancer cases worldwide in 2012 which is equivalent to 792600 cases.
The Lead author Imperial College London, Dr Jonathan Pearson-Stuttard said when considered individually, 544300 cases were attributable to high BMI (equivalent to 3.9 percent of all cancers), and 280100 were attributable to diabetes (2 percent).
“Estimates suggest that 422 million adults have diabetes and 2.01 billion adults are overweight or obese, globally. Both high BMI and diabetes are risk factors for various types of cancer, potentially due to biological changes caused by diabetes and high BMI — such as high insulin, high sugar levels, chronic inflammation, and dysregulated sex hormones such as oestrogen having adverse effects on the body.
Pearson-Stuttard projected that with these two risk factors becoming increasingly widespread, the proportion of attributable cancers is set to grow further.
“As the prevalence of these cancer risk factors increases, clinical and public health efforts should focus on identifying preventive and screening measures for populations and for individual patients. It is important that effective food policies are implemented to tackle the rising prevalence of diabetes, high BMI and the diseases related to these risk factors.
“The study assessed the increase in new cases of 18 cancers based on the prevalence of diabetes and high BMI in 175 countries between 1980 and 2002.
“To conduct the study, the authors gathered data on the incidence of 12 types of cancer from 175 countries in 2012. They combined this with data on high BMI and on diabetes. They matched the data sets by age group and sex to take account of age differences using diabetes and BMI data from 2002 to calculate cancer incidence in 2012 attributable to these risks.
“Most of the cancer cases attributable to diabetes and high BMI occurred in high-income western countries (38.2%, 303000/792600 cases), and the second largest proportion occurring in east and southeast Asian countries (24.1%, 190900/792600 cases).
“Although cancers are still less common in some low and middle-income countries than in high-income nations, the population of these countries experienced particularly large impacts from diabetes and high BMI. For example, between 9% and 14% of all cancer cases in Mongolia, Egypt, Kuwait, and Vanuatu were due to high BMI and diabetes. Meanwhile Tanzania, Mozambique, and Madagascar had the lowest proportion of cases attributable to high BMI and diabetes. This reflects geographical differences in the prevalence of diabetes and obesity as well as incidence of cancers affected by them.