Japanese adults with diabetes may have a higher risk of cancer overall and in several specific organs, including the liver, pancreas and kidney, according to results of a large study published in the September 25 issue of Archives of Internal Medicine, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.
Researchers have long suspected that there might be an association between diabetes and cancer, but no conclusive evidence has been obtained, according to background information in the article. Diabetes is rapidly becoming more common in Japan, as it is in many other countries. More than 7.4 million Japanese individuals were estimated to have diabetes in 2002, and by 2025, 8.7 percent of the population is expected to develop the disease. "Clarification of the association between diabetes mellitus and cancer in populations with an increasing prevalence, such as Japanese persons, is a crucial task, not only from the causative point of view but also with regard to the formulation of clinical strategies and public health policies for the target population," the authors write.
Manami Inoue, M.D., Ph.D., National Cancer Center, Tokyo, and colleagues studied the association in 97,771 Japanese individuals (46,548 men and 51,223 women) age 40 to 69 who were enrolled in the study between 1990 and 1994. The participants, who had an average age of 51 at the beginning of the study, completed a lifestyle questionnaire at that time that included information about smoking, alcohol drinking, medical history, physical activity and food and beverage intake. They were also asked if they had ever been diagnosed with diabetes or taken diabetes medications. Researchers consulted the national registry of Japanese residents, major hospitals, cancer registries and death certificates to track deaths and cancer cases.
At the beginning of the study, 3,097 men (6.7 percent) and 1,571 women (3.1 percent) had a history of diabetes. By the end of the study's follow-up in 200
Contact: Manami Inoue, M.D., Ph.D.
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