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

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.


Small spaces, big dreams: UAE foodie turns balcony into farm

Updated 21 September 2020

Small spaces, big dreams: UAE foodie turns balcony into farm

MUMBAI: An organic farm started by Sharjah-based Professor Anu Ranade has become a testbed to examine different plants and how they react to severe weather conditions in the UAE — and the green-fingered faculty member has even taken to feeding friends and neighbors with her home-grown goods.

Ranade has grown and harvested more than 40 varieties of tomatoes, in addition to numerous crops in the community farming area, such as cabbage, ginger, mustard, turmeric and mangoes to name a few.

Her farming story began in 2009, when she started missing her hometown and the joys of gardening due to the lack of outdoor space in her apartment in Ajman.

Sharjah-based Professor's farming story started in 2009. Supplied

Not one to be held back, she set out to find ways to pursue gardening in complex settings and weather conditions. She built a small oasis using containers, trellises, vertical and railing planters and started growing plants such as aloe vera, tomatoes, curry leaves, mint, Indian basil and string beans on her balcony.

After landing a job as an Assistant Professor at the University of Sharjah, she moved to a new apartment in Sharjah with enough balcony space to grow a number of plants.

Not one to be held back, she set out to find ways to pursue gardening in complex settings and weather conditions. Supplied

“I started growing several more kinds of vegetables and fruit on the balcony that even inspired my neighbors and friends. In 2019, I grew eight different varieties of tomatoes in the balcony, which yielded more than 20 kg. What started as a hobby slowly turned into an obsession and inspired me to try my hands-on terrace gardening. Luckily, my husband is also extremely passionate about gardening. Together as a team, we used all the extra space available on the terrace of our apartment above the 21st floor.”

She built a small oasis using containers, trellises, vertical and railing planters. Supplied

They recycled wooden planks, car tires, refrigerator racks and milk cans and created raised beds to grow more than 50 different types of nutritious fruits and veggies, some of which you may not even see in a local grocery store.

Last summer, the Department of Sustainability at the University of Sharjah offered to support her by building a 225 square meter plot in addition to allowing some open space inside the campus for community farming.

The Department of Sustainability at the University of Sharjah offered to support her. Supplied

A small part of the harvest that is unsuitable for consumption always goes to composting, as the couple actively follow a zero food waste at home rule. She has also set up a community composting center at the College of Medicine where she is currently working, “In eight months, I have produced more than 700kg of compost and fed it to my plants. Otherwise, all of this kitchen waste would simply end up in the landfill,” Ranade said.