HealthDay News — The incidence of cancer and cancer mortality is higher among people with type 2 diabetes compared to those without the condition, data indicate.

The risk of incident cancer was 22% higher in people with diabetes than in those without the condition, and the risk of death due to cancer was 36% higher after adjusting for potential confounders, Hsin-Chieh Yeh, PhD, of Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, and colleagues reported in Diabetes Care.

They evaluated prospective data from 17,681 adults without diabetes and 599 patients who self-reported type 2 diabetes medication use to quantify the association between patients being treated for diabetes and cancer incidence and outcomes. Cancer incidence was determined using information from state and county cancer registries, and mortality data were collected from death certificates.

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Age-adjusted cancer incidence was 13.25 per 1,000 person-years in adults with diabetes compared with 10.58 per 1,000 person-years in adults without diabetes, analysis revealed. Among individuals who developed cancer, the risk of death due to cancer and the risk of death due to any cause were higher in adults with diabetes. Additionally, diabetes appeared to play a greater role in cancer mortality than in incidence rates for colorectal, breast and prostate cancers, the researchers reported.

“Our study suggests that for many common cancers like colon, breast and prostate, diabetes exerts a stronger adverse influence downstream, after cancer occurs, than upstream, in relation to incident cancer risk. Whether improvements in diabetes management might reduce the risk of mortality in cancer patients with preexisting cancer deserves further attention,” the researchers wrote.

Yeh HC et al. Diabetes Care. 2012;35:113-11.