Regular bowel cancer screenings should be a critical part of diabetes management, according to new research.
Research showing men with type 2 diabetes face a higher risk of developing bowel cancer has sparked calls for more regular screening checks for the potentially fatal disease.
An 11-year study of almost 1300 people with type 2 diabetes found for the first time that both men and women with the condition faced an increased risk for all types of cancer.
However the finding that most alarmed researchers was that men aged 55 to 84 with type 2 diabetes were nearly twice as likely to develop bowel cancer as their healthy peers.
University of Western Australia's professor of medicine Tim Davis, who led the study, said based on the findings doctors should consider bowel cancer screening as an integral part of diabetes management.
"On the strength of these results, doctors should consider lowering the screening threshold for these patients," he said.
"Checking for faecal blood is one option but a colonoscopy is far more thorough and could become an integral part of diabetes management."
About one in 12 Australians will be diagnosed with bowel cancer before the age of 85.
If detected early, 90 per cent of cases are treated successfully.
However most people don't receive a diagnosis until the disease has reached an advanced stage, making bowel cancer Australia's second leading cancer killer.
The latest research was carried out as part of University of Western Australia's long-running Freemantle Diabetes study.
The group of people were recruited for the study in the mid-1990s and checked to see how many developed cancer.
Researchers found that men with type 2 diabetes faced no greater risk than healthy men for developing prostate cancer while women with the condition had a similar risk for breast cancer to the general population.
However men who were taking the medication metformin to control their blood sugar levels did have a greater risk of prostate cancer.
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