Having type 1 Diabetes is more common in children and young adults and a new study shows that this type of diabetes may put people at risk for certain cancers. It’s not all bad news because it may actually put them at a lower risk for others.
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A higher risk was seen for cancers of the stomach, liver, pancreas, endometrium, ovary and kidneys. But a reduced risk was seen for prostate and breast cancers, researchers reported.
In type 1 diabetes, the body cannot produce the hormone insulin, which helps regulate blood sugar levels. People with type 1 diabetes must be treated with insulin to survive.
The good news from this study, said researcher Sarah Wild, is that it doesn’t seem that insulin treatment is responsible for an increased risk of some cancers, which has been a concern.
“This pattern of cancer risk [seen in the study] is similar to that seen for people with type 2 diabetes and people who are overweight,” said Wild, a professor of epidemiology at the University of Edinburgh in the United Kingdom. “This suggests that insulin treatment for type 1 diabetes does not itself increase risk of cancer.”And, Wild pointed out, the new findings only show an association between type 1 diabetes and an increased risk for cancer, not that type 1 diabetes is a direct cause of the increased risk.