Diabetic women face higher risk of oral cancer, study finds

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Diabetic women face higher risk of oral cancer, study finds

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New research has discovered that women with diabetes face a dramatically increased chance of developing oral cancer. (Photograph: Image Point Fr/Shutterstock)

Fri. 24. August 2018

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SYDNEY, Australia: The links between oral health and overall health are numerous, with their importance continually filtering into broader society. In a new study that may bring more attention to the topic, researchers at the George Institute for Global Health at the University of New South Wales in Australia and the University of Oxford in the UK have discovered that women with diabetes face a dramatically increased chance of developing oral cancer.

Speaking to Dental Tribune International one of the two lead researchers Dr Toshiaki Ohkuma said, “Evidence has already been published showing that women with diabetes are at an increased risk of stroke, coronary heart disease and dementia compared to men with diabetes. However, there has been no systematic overview of the evidence on sex difference in the association between diabetes and cancer which are growing health problems worldwide.”

To collect the data needed for the systematic review and meta-analysis, a systematic search was performed in PubMed for cohort studies published up to December 2016. The selected studies reported sex-specific relative risk estimates for the association between diabetes and cancer adjusted at least for age in both sexes.

In total, data from 19,239,302 individuals was collected, and according to the study’s results, women had a 13 per cent higher chance of developing oral cancer if they had Type 1 diabetes. Overall, women faced a 27 per cent greater risk of developing any form of cancer if they had diabetes, while men had a 19 per cent increased risk. Additionally, the researchers found that diabetes conferred a higher site-specific risk for women than men for oral, stomach and kidney cancers and leukaemia, but a lower risk for liver cancer.

Commenting on the research, CEO of the Oral Health Foundation Dr Nigel Carter, OBE, said, “This makes regular dental visits an absolute must. If your dentists know that you are diabetic, they will check your mouth accordingly. For many years we have known that diabetic patients are more likely to get gum disease and need extra dental care but this is yet another reason for regular checks.”

The study, titled “Sex differences in the association between diabetes and cancer: A systematic review and meta-analysis of 121 cohorts including 20 million individuals and one million events”, was published in Diabetologia on 20 July 2018 ahead of inclusion in an issue.

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