People with diabetes must be diligent in managing their blood glucose levels in order to prevent the more well-known diabetes complications, such as loss of vision (diabetic retinopathy), nerve pain (diabetic neuropathy), and kidney problems (diabetic nephropathy). But there are other illnesses that may occur in higher numbers in people with diabetes than in the general public.
A study published in July 2005 found that men with type 2 diabetes had a higher risk of developing colorectal cancer - 49% higher. The results weren’t surprising to researchers because the risks for colorectal cancer include high fat diet, sedentary lifestyle, and obesity - much the same as the risk for developing type 2 diabetes. There have also been studies that linked the use of long-term insulin with increased risk of colorectal cancer.
Findings like this are quite important because colorectal cancer, although one of the most common cancers in the United States, is also one of the most curable cancers if caught early enough. Statistics show up to a 90% cure rate for early colorectal cancer. But - it needs to be detected for that to be possible.
If you have type 2 diabetes, speak with your doctor about having a screening colonoscopy if you’ve not yet had one. If anyone in your immediate family has had colorectal cancer, then this is even more important.