HealthDay News — More than 5% of all incident cancers in 2012 were attributable to diabetes and high body mass index (BMI), according to a study published in The Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology.

Jonathan Pearson-Stuttard, BMBCh, from Imperial College London, and colleagues estimated the population attributable fractions for 12 cancers worldwide. Comprehensive prevalence estimates of diabetes and BMI categories in 2002 were combined with relative risks from published estimates to quantify the contribution of diabetes and high BMI to site-specific cancers.

The researchers estimated that in 2012, 5.6% of all incident cancers were due to the combined effects of diabetes and high BMI, corresponding to 792,600 new cases. 

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Overall, 24.5% of liver cancer cases and 38.4% of endometrial cancer cases were due to these risk factors. About 4.5% of all incident cancers assessed were due to diabetes and high BMI combined, in the conservative scenario. High BMI was responsible for twice as many cancer cases as diabetes (544,300 vs 280,100 cases). Increases in the prevalence of these risk factors from 1980 to 2002 explained 26.1% of diabetes-related cancers and 31.9% of high BMI-related cancers.

“As the prevalence of these cancer risk factors increases, clinical and public health efforts should focus on identifying optimal preventive and screening measures for whole populations and individual patients,” the authors write.

One author disclosed financial ties to AstraZeneca and several investment companies.

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Pearson-Stuttard J, Zhou B, Kontis V, et al. Worldwide burden of cancer attributable to diabetes and high body-mass index: a comparative risk assessment [published online November 28, 2017.] Lancet Diabetes Endocrinol. doi: 10.1016/S2213-8587(17)30366-2