"If we could prevent diabetes, maybe we could prevent the onset of of these other cancers," says Dr. Jorge Castillo, who specializes in treating blood cancers. "The link between cancer is an evolving matter."
Previous studies, he says, have linked diabetes to an increased risk in colon, stomach and pancreatic cancers.
But Dr. Castillo was interested in the link between diabetes and blood cancers so he and some colleagues analyzed 26 previously published research articles.
"Our study was based on 17,000 cases, which is a large study, basically shows that patients with diabetes, and we focused specifically on diabetes type two, which is the most common type of diabetes, probably 90-95 percent of all diabetes are type two and we saw that by having that diagnosis of diabetes that the risk of having blood cancers increased by approximately 20-25 percent," he says.
Interestingly, Dr. Castillo found that included all blood cancers except for Hodgkin's lymphoma.
Dr. Castillo's findings are published on line in the American Hematology Journal, Blood.
While more research is needed, taking steps to prevent type two diabetes could translate into 7,000 fewer blood cancer cases.
In all, Dr. Castillo says about 150,000 people are diagnosed with leukemia each year.
He says thanks to new targeted therapies, more patients are living longer or being cured.