A new study confirms that diabetics are at much higher risk of developing colon cancer due to persistently high levels of insulin in the body.
Investigators reported the study findings this week at the 70th Annual Scientific Meeting of the American College of Gastroenterology in Honolulu.
“We thought that diabetics would be at increased risk of colon cancer because receptors for insulin are present on (colon tissue),” co-investigator Dr. Donald Garrow told Reuters Health. “So if you have high levels of insulin, as diabetics often do for years, that attack on the colonic mucosa can lead to changes that can become colon cancer.”
Cell culture studies have also suggested that high blood sugar, which characterizes diabetes, is also a promoter of colon cancer growth, he added.
Overall, diabetes was associated with a 59 percent increased risk of developing colon cancer. Other significant risk factors are age older than 50 years, white race and smoking.
The take home message is: “if you are a white diabetic age 50 or older who used to smoke, you really need to adhere to current colorectal cancer screening guidelines.”