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Diabetes mellitus may boost pancreatic cancer risk

By david Liu, PHD

Friday July 27, 2012 (foodconsumer.org) -- A person living with type 2 diabetes mellitus may be at 80 percent increased risk of developing pancreatic cancer, compared to those who do not have the disease, according to a retrospective cohort study published June 25, 2012 in Diabetes, Obesity & Metabolism.

K. G. Brodovicz of Merck Sharp & Dohme Corp. in Whitehouse Station, NJ, USA. and colleagues looked at data from a  the U.K. General Practice Research Database to associate pancreatic cancer incidence and risk with the status of type 2 diabetes mellitus.

The study involved 1903 cases incident pancreatic cancer of which 439 were found in patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus and 1467 found in patients with diabetes mellitus. The incidence of pancreatic cancer in type 2 diabetes mellitus patients was 78.76 per 100,000 person-years, compared to 11.46 per 100,000 person-years.

Having type 2 diabetes mellitus was associated with 80 percent increased risk of pancreatic cancer.  The pancreatic cancer risk also increased with increasing age, history of chronic  pancreatitis and tobacco use.

Having chronic pancreatitis and type 2 diabetes mellitus together could boost the risk by 12 times and the incidence was highest among patients who lived with type 2 diabetes mellitus over five years.

Diabetes mellitus affects an estimated 24 million Americans. There is no cure for the disease but with western medicine, the condition can be controlled.  The disease can cause serious complications.

Pancreatic cancer is a deadly disease.  About 4.4 percent patients ever lived over 5 years after diagnosis.