Diabetes Increases a Woman’s Risk of Advanced-Stage Breast Cancer

Researchers at the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences (ICES) and Women’s College Hospital in Toronto, Canada are studying women with diabetes and their risk of breast cancer.  Their findings indicate that women with diabetes may be predisposed to a more advanced stage of breast cancer and, therefore, this may be a contributing factor in women with diabetes’ higher cancer mortality.  Based on these findings, it may be necessary to adjust breast cancer screening and detection methods in this population.  


Researchers analyzed data from more than 38,000 women between the ages of 20 - 105 who were diagnosed with invasive breast cancer between 2007– 2012.  Approximately 16% had diabetes.  Women with diabetes were 14% more likely to have Stage II breast cancer, 21% more likely to have Stage III breast cancer, and 16% more likely to have stage IV breast cancer—as compared to having Stage I, which is more treatable.


Five-year survival rates of women with diabetes and breast cancer were 15% lower than for women without diabetes.  Also, women with diabetes were more likely to have larger tumors and cancer that had spread to other areas.

Interestingly, women with diabetes reported lower mammogram rates.  Further research is needed and it is important that women not only manage their diabetes but that they also be sure to follow other preventive health measures.