Study leader Dr Jonathan Pearson-Stuttard said: "A substantial number of cancer cases are attributable to diabetes and high BMI". They combined this with data on high BMI and on diabetes. Cancer incidence among patients with a high BMI, diabetes, or both was compared with the general population. "We also need to recognise the individual types of diabetes, and understand how they might affect the risk of cancer differently".
They put the global toll at 792,600 cases a year, or 5.6 per cent of all diagnoses. Meanwhile Tanzania, Mozambique, and Madagascar had the lowest proportion of cases attributable to high BMI and diabetes.
Almost 30 per cent of breast cancers affecting women are thought to be caused by diabetes and carrying too much weight, with the two conditions also often leading to endometrial cancer, the study found. This reflects geographical differences in the prevalence of diabetes and obesity as well as incidence of cancers affected by them.
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Most of the cancers occurred in wealthy Western countries, with East and southeast Asia coming in second. Worldwide, about 422 million adults have diabetes and 2.01 billion have a high BMI, defined as a BMI of at least 25 kg/m².
Globally, the growing number of people with diabetes between 1980 and 2002 led to 77,000 new cases of attributable cancers in 2012 - a 26.1 per cent increase.
'It is vital that co-ordinated polices are implemented to tackle the shared risk factors and complications of chronic diseases such as obesity and diabetes'.
Researchers warned, based on current trends, that the number of cancers attributable to the two conditions would rise by more than 30 per cent in women and 20 per cent in men by 2035.
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Dr Emily Burns, from the charity Diabetes UK, said: 'Diabetes doesn't directly cause cancer, but this study adds to the evidence that having diabetes can increase [the] risk of certain types of cancer.
The authors note that the 10 year lag between risk factor exposure and cancer development is a simple estimate of how long it takes for cancer to develop so may not include full exposure to the risk.
Here's a seriously good reason to watch your diet: Excess weight and diabetes cause almost 6 percent of cancers worldwide, a new study reports. Both obesity and diabetes are preventable causes of cancer for which intervention is possible at multiple levels- in individuals, communities, health-care systems, and policy.
This study was funded by the NIHR and Wellcome Trust. Over time, these can lead to cancer, the British researchers explained.
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Results reveal excess weight and diabetes together account for a quarter of all liver cancers and a third of endometrial cancers, which affects the lining of the womb.