Diabetes: Study Show Links between Breast Cancer and Diabetes

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If you’re a post-menopausal woman and overweight, you may already know that you have an increased risk for breast cancer, but an international study has also established a link between type 2 diabetes and advanced breast cancer.

In an international study, conducted in part by the university of Melbourne, women who are either resistant to insulin, overweight, or both may be up to 50 per cent more likely to be diagnosed with the cancer. Moreover, cancer is found only when it is in its advanced stages.

“We don’t know the exact reasons why that might be. It might be that the cancer is growing more quickly or that it wasn’t diagnosed early but we need to do more research to find out exactly why that might be,” says Dr Anne Cust, University of Melbourne study. “It may be that the hormones that are involved, that are linked with being overweight or having insulin resistance, might be making the tumour grow more quickly but we need to do more research to find out exactly why that might be the case,” she said.

But Dr Cust believes that this research underscores the importance of maintaining a healthy weight, but these results don’t necessarily suggest that women at risk of type 2 diabetes should be screened for breast cancer more often.

“The question of screening is something that would need to be looked at separately but I think it is just providing another indication that being overweight is linked to lots of different health problems and this is another reason to get off the couch and try to stay active and maintain a healthy weight,” she said. “And also, the link with insulin resistance may provide a new avenue of research for looking at the causes of breast cancer and possibly new treatments.”

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