Patients 50 and older diagnosed with diabetes between 1950 and 1995 face a greater risk of cancer of the pancreas. The study, which included 2122 patients from Rochester, Minn, looked at diagnosis of pancreatic cancer during the 45-year period. Of the patients, 18 were diagnosed with the cancer within 3 years.
The researchers compared this rate with the frequency of pancreatic cancer expected for individuals of similar age and sex without diabetes. The group recently diagnosed with diabetes had 8 times the expected rate. "Our goal now is to identify a marker in the blood that will enable us to distinguish diabetes associated with pancreatic cancer from the far more common type 2 diabetes," said lead investigator Suresh Chari, MD. (The findings were reported in Gastroenterology, August 2005.)