Cancer and Diabetes

  • Bruno W. Volk
  • Klaus F. Wellmann


The relationship of cancer and diabetes has been discussed for many years. Despite the large number of studies which have been carried out over the years, no unanimity of opinion has been expressed. Some investigators believed that cancer occurs more frequently in diabetics than in nondiabetic persons, with an incidence ranging from 3 to 10%.1–4 Others,5–7 using different figures, arrived at the conclusion that no association between these diseases exists. In 1934, Marble5 studied the records of 10,000 patients with proven diabetes. Among these 256 (2.56%) had malignant disease. He also investigated the figures of insurance companies and felt that although certain evidence suggested that cancer was more common among diabetic individuals, it was not possible to draw any definite conclusions. In a study of associated causes of death of persons dying of cancer, in Massachusetts, during a 10-year period, Wilson and Maher1 noted that diabetes and cancer occur together much more frequently than would be expected if the two diseases were independently studied. Ellinger and Landsman,2 in a survey of 1280 diabetic patients seen at the Montefiore Hospital in New York City from 1933 to 1941, found 39 (3.04%) afflicted with malignant disease. This incidence of cancer was 6.5 times greater than that in the general population (0.46%) in the State of New York in 1941. Jacobson,3 using data from certificates and matched hospital case histories in New York, concluded that cancer is more common among diabetics than nondiabetics.


Glucose Tolerance Pancreatic Carcinoma Endometrial Carcinoma Abnormal Glucose Tolerance Carbohydrate Tolerance 


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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1977

Authors and Affiliations

  • Bruno W. Volk
    • 1
  • Klaus F. Wellmann
    • 1
  1. 1.Isaac Albert Research Institute of the Kingsbrook Jewish Medical Center and, Downstate Medical CenterState University of New YorkBrooklynUSA

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