Saturday, December 3, 2011

High Blood Sugar Levels in Older Women Linked to Colorectal Cancer

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Elevated blood sugar levels are associated with an increased risk of colorectal cancer, according to a study led by researchers at Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University.

The Einstein study involved women who were enrolled in the National Institutes of Health's landmark Women's Health Initiative study. For these women, fasting blood sugar and insulin levels had been measured at baseline (i.e., the start of the study) and then several more times over the next 12 years.

By the end of the 12-year period, 81 of the women had developed colorectal cancer. The researchers found that elevated baseline glucose levels were associated with increased colorectal cancer risk—and that women in the highest third of baseline glucose levels were nearly twice as likely to have developed colorectal cancer as women in the lowest third of blood glucose levels. Results were similar when the scientists looked at repeated glucose measurements over time. No association was found between insulin levels and risk for colorectal cancer.

Obesity—usually accompanied by elevated blood levels of insulin and glucose—is a known risk factor for colorectal cancer. Researchers have long suspected that obesity's influence on colorectal cancer risk stems from the elevated insulin levels it causes. But the Einstein study suggests that obesity's impact on this cancer may be due to elevated glucose levels, or to some factor associated with elevated glucose levels.

"It's possible that elevated glucose levels are linked to increased blood levels of growth factors and inflammatory factors that spur the growth of intestinal polyps, some of which later develop into cancer" said Geoffrey Kabat, Ph.D., a senior epidemiologist at Einstein and lead author of the paper.

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The above story is extracted by The Zestfulness Team from materials in the Albert Einstein College of Medicine news release of November 29, 2011

The article has been published in the online edition of British Journal of Cancer: G C Kabat, M Y Kim, H D Strickler, J M Shikany, D Lane, J Luo, Y Ning, M J Gunter, T E Rohan. A longitudinal study of serum insulin and glucose levels in relation to colorectal cancer risk among postmenopausal women. British Journal of Cancer, 2011; DOI: 10.1038/bjc.2011.512

According to the American Cancer Society, colorectal cancer is the third most commonly diagnosed cancer and the third leading cause of cancer death in both men and women in the U.S. Statistics compiled by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for 2007 (the most recent year for which figures are available) show that 142,672 Americans were diagnosed with colorectal cancer, including 69,917 women; the 53,219 deaths from colorectal cancer that year were divided almost equally between men and women.

Read our other posts on colorectal cancer and prevention tips here:

Zestzfulness: Light Your Grills Without Fear "The good news is that you can do something to reduce your risk of colorectal cancer," said Sally Scroggs, health education manager at M.D. Anderson's Cancer Prevention Center, in a news release from the center. "And ...

Zestzfulness: 'Good' Cholesterol May Cut Colon Cancer Risk Researchers led by Dr. Bas Bueno-de-Mesquita of the National Institute for Public Health and the Environment in the Netherlands compared 1238 people with colorectal cancer to 1238 healthy people. Of those with cancer, ...

Zestzfulness: Cancer Prevention Steps In the US , 16 per cent of bowel cancer cases in men and 17 per cent of breast cancer cases in women could be prevented by just by being in the healthy weight range. ...

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