Post-menopausal women who have Type two diabetes appear to have a 27 per cent greater risk of developing breast cancer, experts say. An international team, writing in the British Journal of Cancer, examined 40 separate studies looking at the potential link between breast cancer and diabetes. Being obese or overweight is linked to both conditions. But cancer experts say there may be a direct connection between the two. These studies involved more than 56,000 women with breast cancer. Post-menopausal women with Type two diabetes had a 27 per cent increased risk of breast cancer. But there was no link for pre-menopausal women or those with Type one diabetes. The authors have also suggested that a high body mass index (BMI), which is often associated with diabetes, may be an underlying contributing factor.
Prof Peter Boyle, president of the International Prevention Research Institute, who led the study, said: “We don’t yet know the mechanisms behind why Type two diabetes might increase the risk of breast cancer. “On one hand, it’s thought that being overweight, often associated with Type two diabetes, and the effect this has on hormone activity may be partly responsible for the processes that lead to cancer growth. “But it’s also impossible to rule out that some factors related to diabetes may be involved in the process.” Martin Ledwick, head information nurse at Cancer Research UK, said: “From this study, it’s not clear whether there’s a causal link between diabetes and the risk of breast cancer in post-menopausal women. “But as we know that having a high BMI can contribute to an increased risk of both Type two diabetes and breast cancer, it makes sense for women to try and maintain a healthy weight.”
Work stress ‘raises heart risk’
Having a highly demanding job, but little control over it, could be a deadly combination, UK researchers say. They analysed 13 existing European studies covering nearly 200,000 people and found “job strain” was linked to a 23 per cent increased risk of heart attacks and deaths from coronary heart disease. The risk to the heart was much smaller than for smoking or not exercising, the Lancet medical journal report said. The British Heart Foundation said how people reacted to work stress was key. Job strain is a type of stress. The research team at University College London said working in any profession could lead to strain, but it was more common in lower skilled workers. Doctors who have a lot of decision-making in their jobs would be less likely to have job strain than someone working on a busy factory production line.
There has previously been conflicting evidence on the effect of job strain on the heart. In this paper, the researchers analysed combined data from 13 studies. At the beginning of each of the studies, people were asked whether they had excessive workloads or insufficient time to do their job as well as questions around how much freedom they had to make decisions. They were then sorted into people with job strain or not and followed for an average of seven and a half years.
One of the researchers, Prof Mika Kivimaki, from University College London, said: “Our findings indicate that job strain is associated with a small but consistent increased risk of experiencing a first coronary heart disease event, such as a heart attack.” The researchers said eliminating job strain would prevent 3.4 per cent of those cases, whereas there would be a 36 percent reduction if everyone stopped smoking. (BBC)