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Member Research & Reports

Member Research & Reports

Texas A&M: Researchers Find Significant Association Between Type 2 Diabetes and Colorectal Cancer Deaths

Health conditions are often more than the sum of their parts, with different diseases often interacting in various ways. Up to 25 percent of colorectal cancer patients also have diabetes. A study led by Dr. Sanae El Ibrahimi at the University of Nevada – Las Vegas and published in the International Journal of Colorectal Disease, Dr. Matthew Lee Smith, at the Texas A&M School of Public Health, and a fellow researcher from the University of Miami, attempted to improve our understanding about how these two prevalent and serious health conditions are linked.

They analyzed data of colorectal cancer patients over the age of 67 from the National Cancer Institute from 2002-2011. These datasets cover approximately 28 percent of the U.S. population. They also obtained data about type 2 diabetes status using inpatient and outpatient records from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services for the same period. Their analyses covered more than 90,000 colorectal cancer patients with a mean age of 78, of whom 24 percent had been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes prior to their cancer diagnoses.

By the end of the study period, nearly half of the subjects had died, with more than half of those deaths due to colorectal cancer. Around 20 percent of the deceased subjects had type 2 diabetes, with five percent having complications. Their analyses found that colorectal cancer patients with type 2 diabetes and diabetes-related complications had an almost 50 percent higher risk of dying from any cause and 16 percent higher risk of death from colorectal cancer.

Although Dr. Smith and colleagues found a significant association between type 2 diabetes and colorectal cancer deaths, the specific reasons for this relationship remains unknown.

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