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Type 2 Diabetes May Increase Liver Cancer Risk, Study Finds

admin - January 29, 2014

Glucose screening for diabetes prevention.

When we think of a global epidemic, we often think of diseases like influenza or smallpox. Did you know, however, that type 2 diabetes is an emerging global epidemic that affects more than 347 million people worldwide? By the year 2030, diabetes is expected to become the seventh leading cause of death in the world.

A new study has found that those suffering from type 2 diabetes have an increased risk of developing liver cancer. The study was based on a large amount of data and brings added importance to diabetes prevention and methods of early detection.

According to, the study was conducted by researchers around the world and looked at individuals from different backgrounds, including white adults, Latino, Japanese-American, Native Hawaiian, and African American. The individuals were followed for a period of 16 years. Over the course of the 16-year period, 500 of the roughly 170,000 individuals analyzed developed liver cancer.


Critical linkage between type 2 diabetes and liver cancer

Researchers analyzed the data and found that having type 2 diabetes did increase the risk of developing liver cancer. Among the African American and Japanese American population, roughly 13 percent of liver cancer cases were attributed to their type 2 diabetes. This number was 6 percent among whites, and 26 percent for the Latino population. These results allowed researchers to confirm that in general, if someone is a type 2 diabetic, they were more likely to develop liver cancer.

Even with these findings, researchers noted that risk of liver cancer remained low even in type 2 diabetes patients. While the exact reason for the increased risk of liver cancer is unknown, one of the possibilities could be the medication people use to control their blood sugar levels. Overall, the researchers stated there was no direct cause-and-effect relationship found between the two diseases.

“Some of the drugs already have [the U.S. Food and Drug Administration-ordered] black box warnings for bladder cancer,” said Dr. James D’Olimpio, an oncologist at Monter Cancer Center in New York, in the HealthDay article. “It’s not a stretch to think there might be other relationships between diabetes drugs and pancreatic or liver cancer. Diabetes is already associated with a high risk of developing pancreatic cancer.”


Miscellaneous study notes

Some of the other notes from the study mentioned how alcohol consumption had no impact on the relationship between diabetes and liver cancer. The same can be said for whether people smoked cigarettes. Other risk factors, including age, weight, and so on, were taken into effect within the data analysis.

Diabetes is often detected through a blood glucose screening, diabetes screening or other blood test such as those conducted by Life Line Screening. These screenings help to better gauge risk factors and promote early detection and improved treatment of the disease. Catching diabetes early can limit the dangerous health consequences that untreated diabetes can induce.


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