Diabetes, obesity behind 800,000 cases of cancer worldwide

New research has revealed a direct link between diabetes, obesity and cancer and women face the greatest risk. (Shutterstock)
Updated 28 November 2017
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Diabetes, obesity behind 800,000 cases of cancer worldwide

PARIS: Nearly six percent of new cancers diagnosed worldwide in 2012 — some 800,000 cases — were caused by diabetes and excess weight, according to a study published Tuesday.
Among the 12 types of cancer examined, the proportion of cases chalked up to these factors was as high as a third, researchers reported in The Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology, a leading medical journal.
Cancers stemming from diabetes and obesity combined was almost twice as common among women than men, they found.
And of the two cancer-causing agents, being overweight or obese — above 25 on the body-mass index, or BMI — was responsible for twice as many cancers as diabetes.
The conditions, in reality, are often found together, as obesity is itself a leading risk factor for diabetes.
“While obesity has been associated with cancer for some time, the link between diabetes and cancer has only been established quite recently,” said lead author Jonathan Pearson-Stuttard, a clinical research fellow at Imperial College London’s Faculty of Medicine.
“Our study shows that diabetes — either on its own or combined with being overweight — is responsible for hundreds of thousands of cancer cases each year across the world.”
A surge in both conditions over the last four decades has made the tally significantly worse, the study showed.
The global increase in diabetes between 1980 and 2002 accounted for a quarter of the 800,000 cases, while the obesity epidemic over the same period resulted in an additional 30 percent of cases.
On current trends, the share of cancers attributable to the two conditions will increase by 30 percent for women and 20 percent for men in less than 20 years, the researchers warned.
“In the past, smoking was by far the major risk factor for cancer, but now health care professionals should also be aware that patients who have diabetes or are overweight also have an increased risk,” Pearson-Stuttard said.
For men, obesity and diabetes accounted for more than 40 percent of liver cancers, while for women they were responsible for a third of uterine cancers, and nearly as many cases of breast cancer.
The threshold for obesity is a BMI — one’s weight in kilos divided by one’s height (in centimeters) squared — of 30.
To conduct the study, researchers gathered data on cases of 12 types of cancer from 175 countries in 2012, and matched it with data on weight and diabetes.
People with a BMI of 25 to 29.9 are considered to be overweight.


WHO: Alcohol abuse kills 3 million a year, most of them men

The logo of the World Health Organization (WHO) is pictured on the facade of the WHO headquarters on October 24, 2017 in Geneva. (AFP)
Updated 22 September 2018
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WHO: Alcohol abuse kills 3 million a year, most of them men

  • Of all deaths attributable to alcohol, 28 percent were due to injuries, such as traffic accidents and interpersonal violence
  • An estimated 2.3 billion people worldwide drink alcohol, with average daily consumption of people at 33 grams of pure alcohol a day

GENEVA: More than 3 million people died in 2016 due to drinking too much alcohol, meaning one in 20 deaths worldwide was linked to harmful drinking, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Friday.
More than three quarters of these deaths were among men, the UN health agency said. Despite evidence of the health risks it carries, global consumption of alcohol is predicted to rise in the next 10 years.
“It’s time to step up action to prevent this serious threat to the development of healthy societies,” WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, said.
In its “Global status report on alcohol and health 2018,” the WHO said that globally, an estimated 237 million men and 46 million women are problem drinkers or alcohol abusers. The highest prevalence is in Europe and the Americas, and alcohol-use disorders are more common in wealthier countries.
Of all deaths attributable to alcohol, 28 percent were due to injuries, such as traffic accidents and interpersonal violence. Another 21 percent were due to digestive disorders, and 19 percent due to cardiovascular diseases such as heart attacks and strokes.
An estimated 2.3 billion people worldwide drink alcohol, with average daily consumption of people at 33 grams of pure alcohol a day. This is roughly equivalent to two 150 ml glasses of wine, a large (750 ml) bottle of beer or two 40 ml shots of spirits.
Europe has the highest per person alcohol consumption in the world, even though it has dropped by around 10 percent since 2010. Current trends point to a global rise in per capita consumption in the next 10 years, the report said, particularly in Southeast Asia, the Western Pacific and the Americas.
“All countries can do much more to reduce the health and social costs of the harmful use of alcohol,” said Vladimir Poznyak, of the WHO’s substance abuse unit. He said proven, cost-effective steps included raising alcohol taxes, restricting advertising and limiting easy access to alcohol.
Worldwide, 45 percent of total alcohol consumed is in the form of spirits. Beer is the second most popular, accounting for 34 percent of consumption, followed by wine at 12 percent.
The report found that almost all countries have alcohol excise taxes, but fewer than half of them use other pricing strategies such as banning below-cost sales or bulk buy discounts.