(HealthDay News) — Patients diagnosed with type 2 diabetes have a greater prevalence of cancer with longer diabetes duration and with insulin use, according to a study published online Jan. 8 in Diabetes Care.

Chaoyang Li, M.D., Ph.D., and colleagues from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, estimated the prevalence of diagnosed cancer using data for 25,964 adults with diagnosed diabetes from the 2009 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System.

The researchers found that, after adjustment for a number of variables, the prevalence of cancer was significantly higher with greater duration of diabetes. For adults with type 2 diabetes, the prevalence of cancer was significantly higher among those diagnosed with diabetes at least 15 years earlier (adjusted prevalence ratio, 1.6 for men and 1.8 for women). The prevalence of cancer of all sites was also higher among patients with type 2 diabetes who used insulin (1.3 for both men and women).

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“While our cross-sectional results provide useful information for an association between duration of diagnosed diabetes or current insulin use and cancer prevalence, further clinical research with a longitudinal design is warranted to confirm a possible causal link between diabetes and cancer,” Li and colleagues conclude.

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