While diabetes is an established risk factor for developing cancer, less is known about whether cancer can increase the risk of developing diabetes. As part of a new study to investigate this further, researchers examined data on 524,089 men and women, aged 20-70 years old) in a nationally representative sample of the Korean general population who had no history of cancer. Participants were followed for up to 10 years.
The authors found cancer increased the risk of subsequent development of diabetes. The increased risk of diabetes was evident shortly after the diagnosis of cancer and was strongest in the first two years after cancer diagnosis. It remained elevated throughout follow-up. Those who developed cancer were older, more likely to be female, to drink alcohol every day, to have a higher body mass index, and to have more comorbidities when compared with participants who did not develop cancer.
Presenting their findings in JAMA Oncology, the authors concluded: “Physicians should remember that patients with cancer develop other clinical problems, such as diabetes, with higher frequency than individuals without cancer, and should consider routine diabetes screening in these patients."