Diabetes and a high BMI (over 25 kg/m2) were the cause of 5,6% of new cancer cases worldwide in 2012, according to a study published in The Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology journal on 28 November 2017…

With these two risk factors becoming increasingly widespread, the proportion of attributable cancers is set to grow further.

Effective food policies

“Clinical and public health efforts should focus on identifying preventive and screening measures for populations and for individual patients. It is important that effective food policies are implemented to tackle the rising prevalence of diabetes, high BMI and the diseases related to these risk factors.” says lead author Dr Jonathan Pearson-Stuttard, Imperial College London, UK.

The study assessed the increase in new cases of 18 cancers based on the prevalence of diabetes and high BMI in 175 countries between 1980 and 2002.

Prevalence in high-, middle- and low income countries

Most of the cancer cases attributable to diabetes and high BMI occurred in high-income western countries, with the second largest proportion occurring in east and Southeast Asian countries.

Subscribe to our Free Daily All4Women Newsletter to enter

Although cancers are still less common in some low and middle-income countries than in high-income nations, these countries across Asia and sub-Saharan Africa saw the largest increases in cancers due to diabetes and overweight and obesity, as the levels of diabetes and high BMI in these regions increased substantially between 1980 and 2002.

Proportion of cancers will grow

The researchers estimate that, by 2025, the proportion of related cancers will have grown by more than 30% in women and 20% in men on average.

Dr Pearson-Stuttard adds: “These projections are particularly alarming when considering the high and increasing cost of cancer and metabolic diseases, and highlight the need to improve control measures, and increase awareness of the link between cancer, diabetes, and high BMI.”

Evidence of more related cancers

There is growing evidence suggesting that diabetes is also related to myeloma-, bladder-, kidney-, and oesophageal cancer, meaning the study may underestimate the burden of cancers due to diabetes.

For complete article, see:


While All4Women endeavours to ensure health articles are based on scientific research, health articles should not be considered as a replacement for professional medical advice. Should you have concerns related to this content, it is advised that you discuss them with your personal healthcare provider.