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High Blood Sugar Increases Cancer Risk For Women Swedish Study Finds

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A Swedish study has found that elevated blood sugar in women is linked with increased risk of developing cancer.

The study is published in the March issue of Diabetes Care and was sponsored by the World Cancer Research Fund.Researchers led by Dr. PA Stattin, of the Department of Surgical and perioperative sciences at Umea University Hospital in Sweden identified 2,478 incident cases of cancer from records of 33,293 women and 31,304 men who participated in the Vasterbotten Intervention Project of northern Sweden.Participants were recruited in the mid-1980s at age 40, 50 and 60 and the study covered a 13-year period. The records included fasting and postload (after receiving an infusion of glucose) levels of glucose or blood sugar.Using Poisson statistical models they calculated the cancer risk relative to blood glucose while adjusting for: age, year of enrollment, fasting time and smoking status.Dr Stattin and colleagues found that women with blood sugar levels higher than normal have a total higher risk for cancer while for men the risk was unchanged at higher blood sugar levels.The overall risk of developing cancer for women in the top 25 per cent of fasting blood glucose levels was 26 per cent higher than those in the bottom 25 per cent.In terms of individual cancers, they also found that women with high fasting glucose levels had a higher risk of pancreatic, breast and endometrial cancers, while the increase in risk for malignant melanoma was two times higher.While previous studies have shown that cancer risk for some cancers is higher for people with type 2 diabetes, this study suggests that something could be happening to trigger cancer much earlier, as glucose levels begin to rise.Dr Stattin suggests that the absence of a link a between overall cancer risk and elevated sugar levels mong men is due to the fact that prostate cancer, by far the most common cancer among men in this study, was inversely proportional to glucose levels.The scientists also found that the blood sugar levels gradually rose over the period of the study, which they suggest means that cancer risks would also continue to rise unless glucose levels were brought down by some means.The results were no different when they took Body Mass Index (BMI) into account.The study concluded that the link between hyperglycemia and “total cancer risk in women and in women and men combined for several cancer sites, independently of obesity, provides further evidence for an association between abnormal glucose metabolism and cancer”.The researchers suggest this means that, “A lifestyle that decreases plasma glucose levels may reduce overall cancer risk, not only among overweight or obese subjects, but most likely among subjects with normal body weight”.According to the American Diabetes Association, moderate weight loss and a minimum of 2.5 hours of physical activity a week can substantially reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes and heart disease.(Source: Diabetes Care : Umea University Hospital : March 2007.)

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Posted On: 22 March, 2007
Modified On: 16 January, 2014

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