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Colon Cancer Prognosis Worse for the Obese, Type 2 Diabetics
Date:12/3/2011

By Serena Gordon
HealthDay Reporter

FRIDAY, Dec. 2 (HealthDay News) -- People who have been diagnosed with colon cancer have a poorer prognosis if they're obese or have type 2 diabetes, new research suggests.

Two new studies that looked at the impact that body-mass index (BMI) and a diagnosis of type 2 diabetes had on survival rates after a colon cancer diagnosis found that both factors influence whether or not someone survives colorectal cancer. In addition, both studies found that deaths from any cause, including heart disease, were also increased in those who were obese or had type 2 diabetes.

Results of the studies were published online in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

"The message here is to avoid obesity and type 2 diabetes because they have negative health outcomes. We don't know for sure that losing weight or increasing physical activity will help, but we know they're good for trying to avoid other diseases, like cardiovascular disease, that can come up down the road," said Dr. Jeffrey Meyerhardt, author of an accompanying editorial in the same journal, and an associate professor of medicine at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Harvard Medical School in Boston.

There are more than 1 million people who've survived a colon cancer diagnosis living in the United States, and mortality from colorectal cancer has gone down over the past two decades, according to background information in the studies.

And, while previous research has linked a higher BMI and type 2 diabetes to the development of colorectal cancer in the first place, it hasn't been clear how these factors influence the course of colorectal cancer once someone has been diagnosed.

The first study included 2,303 people involved in an ongoing study that began in 1992. Between that time and 2007, the study participants had been diagnosed with colorectal cancer. Follow-up continued through December 2008.

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