Hundreds of millions of people across the globe live with one form of diabetes, which makes this one of the most common health conditions that doctors diagnose.
People with diabetes tend to have a higher risk of developing certain additional medical conditions, including problems with eyesight, heart disease, and other cardiovascular problems.
Now, emerging evidence also suggests that diabetes could elevate the risk of tumours metastasizing — or spreading — in cancer.
Recently, a team of researchers from Cornell University in Ithaca, NY, has explored the potential mechanisms underlying the relationship between diabetes and metastatic cancer.
"Cancer and diabetes are two of the worst health problems in developed countries, and there's a link between the two," says study author Prof. Mingming Wu.
"For cancer, half of the story is still in genetics. It's only recently we realized there is another half that we missed, which is the microenvironment," Prof. Wu adds.
In other words, the growth and spread of cancer might be highly dependent on the biological environment that surrounds it, and diabetes, the researchers believe, may create the right setting to increase the motility (ability to move) of cancer cells.