A new study shows that women with diabetes have an increased risk of advanced breast cancer.
Published in Breast Cancer Research and Treatment, the study found that women with diabetes were 14% more likely to have stage II breast cancer, 21% more likely to have stage III breast cancer and 16% more likely to have stage IV breast cancer compared to having stage I breast cancer.
“Our findings suggest that women with diabetes may be predisposed to more advanced stage breast cancer, which may be a contributor to their higher cancer mortality,” said Dr. Lorraine Lipscombe, a scientist part of the research team.
The study analyzed data from 38,000 women ages 20 to 105 diagnosed with invasive breast cancer, of which nearly 16% had diabetes.
The higher likelihood of advanced stages of breast cancer for the diabetics also meant that the five-year survival for them was lower by 15% compared to those without diabetes. They also had a higher risk of lymph node metastases (spreading of the cancer) and large tumors.
“In addition, the risk of advanced stage breast cancer was greatest in younger women and those with longer-standing diabetes,” added Dr. Lipscombe.
Researchers suggest that breast cancer screening and detection practices may need to be modified for patients with diabetes to reduce the chances of later-stage detection.
The study only found an association between diabetes and advanced breast cancer. Why there is a link is still unknown.
Sources: March 27, 2015. "Diabetes, Advanced Breast Cancer Linked in Study". webmd.com March 25, 2015. "Study confirms strong association between diabetes and later stage breast cancer". news-medical.net