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STUDY: Watch your glucose levels
JOURNAL: Am J Epidemiol 2003;157:1092-1100.
AUTHORS: Dr. Saydah
ABSTRACT: Impaired glucose tolerance, a known risk factor for diabetes and heart disease, may also increase the risk of cancer death.
COMMENTARY: For the estimated 15% of US adults with impaired glucose tolerance, the new findings provide yet another reason to modify a sedentary lifestyle.
The finding may also explain why overweight people are more likely to develop cancer, especially colon cancer.
In a study of more than 3,000 adults followed between 1976 and 1980, she and her colleagues found that people with impaired glucose tolerance were nearly twice as likely to die from any type of cancer than were those with normal glucose levels. Their risk of dying from colon cancer, specifically, was more than quadruple that of healthy controls.
After adjusting for age, sex and other factors associated with cancer risk, abnormal glucose tolerance remained strongly associated with cancer mortality.
The reason for the link is unclear. Previous reports have suggested that hyperinsulinemia may promote cancer development, since insulin has been shown to stimulate cell growth, especially colonic epithelial cells.
However, people with overt diabetes were no more likely to die of cancer than were people with normal blood sugar levels