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January 12, 2005

Hyperglycemia, Obesity, and Cancer Risks on the Horizon

JAMA. 2005;293(2):235-236. doi:10.1001/jama.293.2.235

The prevalence of diabetes mellitus has increased substantially over the past several decades, in part because of the growing epidemic of obesity.1 Approximately 8% of the US population has diabetes,2 with more than 90% of cases classified as type 2 diabetes, and with insulin resistance as the major underlying pathophysiology. Much of the emphasis in diabetes management focuses on reducing end-organ complications, including retinopathy, neuropathy, nephropathy, and macrovascular disease. Several recent epidemiological studies, including the report by Jee et al3 in this issue of JAMA, have also shown an association between diabetes and several common cancers, including pancreas and colon cancer. How important is this effect and what are the public health implications?

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