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Obesity, diabetes cause 800,000 cancers yearly, researchers find

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Women nearly twice as likely to suffer as men, according to first study of its kind
Obesity and diabetes cause around 800,000 cancers a year, with women being nearly twice as likely to suffer as men, new research reveals.

Carrying too much weight resulted in 544,300 cancer cases worldwide in 2012, while diabetes caused 280,100 incidences; together making up nearly six per cent of global cases, according to the first study of its kind.

If obesity and type 2 diabetes rates continue to rise, the two conditions could be responsible for up to 30 per cent of cancers around the world in 2035, researchers predict.

The study’s findings were published in the journal The Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology.

Being overweight is linked to cancer as excess fat causes the release of hormones that affect how cells work, however, diabetes’ association to the disease is less well understood.

It is thought diabetes’ inflammatory-effects, as well as its impact on insulin and blood sugar levels, may play a role.

Researchers from Imperial College London analysed the data of 12 different types of cancer along with Body Mass Index (BMI) and diabetes information from 175 countries in 2012.

Results reveal excess weight and diabetes together account for a quarter of all liver cancers and a third of endometrial cancers, which affects the lining of the womb.

Nearly 30 per cent of breast cancers affecting women are thought to be caused by diabetes and carrying too much weight, with the two conditions also often leading to endometrial cancer, the study found.

In men, obesity and diabetes most commonly cause liver cancer, followed by bowel cancer.

Lead researcher Dr. Jonathan Pearson-Stuttard said: “While obesity has been associated with cancer for some time, the link between diabetes and cancer has only been established quite recently.

“Our study shows that diabetes, either on its own or combined with being overweight, is responsible for hundreds of thousands of cancer cases each year across the world.”

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