A new study led by Imperial College London revealed that the combined effects of obesity and diabetes are responsible for nearly 800,000 new cancer cases worldwide.

The study, published in the journal The Lancet Diabetes and Endocrinology, showed that the worldwide rise in diabetes and overweight cases in the recent years played a crucial role in the increase of weight-and diabetes-related cancer. Almost a third of weight-related cancer cases included in the study can be attributed to the increasing number of people with high BMI. On the other hand, one in four diabetes-related cancers were attributable to the worldwide rise in diabetes cases.

Diabetes and weight-related cancer more common in women

For the study, the researchers collected data on cases of 12 types of cancers from 175 countries in 2012. They then combined the cancer data with the collected data sets on high BMI and on diabetes, matching the data sets by age and gender.

The researchers observed that weight and diabetes-related cancers were nearly two times more common in women than in men, which accounts for 496,700 and 295,900 of all cases.

The most common type of cancers caused by the combined effects of high BMI and diabetes is breast cancer, which accounts for 29.7 percent or 147,400 new cases. This is followed by Endometrial, accounting for 24,5 percent or 121,700 of new cancer cases.

In men, the most common type of weight and diabetes-related cancers are liver cancer, accounting for 126,700 cases or 42.8 percent of the 12 types of cancer. Colorectal follows liver cancer, which is accountable for 121,700 new cases or 24.5 percent.

Cancer cases in low-income countries are soaring

The study also found that the most common type of weight and obesity-related cancers in low-income countries and high-income countries are different.

In western high-income countries, the most common type of cancer caused by high BMI and diabetes was Breast Cancer, accounting for 23.8 percent of the cases attributed to high BMI and diabetes. On the other hand, liver cancer is the most common in low-income countries in East and South Asia, accounting for 53.8 percent of all new cases.

The researchers observed that high-income western countries have the most cases in 2012. However, low- and middle-income countries experience the largest increase in new cases from 1980 to 2002.

High BMI is a well-established risk factor for cancer. However, the link between diabetes and cancer is still unclear. The result of the study demonstrates that diabetes either on its own or combined with obesity can potentially cause cancer. Due to this, the researchers noted that governments should develop effective food policies to tackle obesity and diabetes.