HealthDay News — Having a large waistline, a high body mass index (BMI), and type 2 diabetes may raise risk for liver cancer, according to research published online October 14 in Cancer Research.

Peter Campbell, PhD, strategic director of digestive system cancer research at the American Cancer Society, and colleagues examined data on 1.57 million adults from 14 U.S. studies to look for an association between obesity and type 2 diabetes and liver cancer. None of the participants had cancer when the study began. Over time, 6.5% of the participants were diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, while 2,162 developed liver cancer. 

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After comparing rates of liver cancer among those who were obese and had diabetes and those who were obese but didn’t have diabetes, the researchers found that patients with type 2 diabetes were 2.6 times more likely to be diagnosed with liver cancer. The findings held even after accounting for other risk factors, such as drinking, smoking, and race. As the participants’ BMI increased, so did their risk for the cancer. The researchers found an 8% increase in risk for liver cancer for every extra 2 inches added to the waistline.

“This adds substantial support to liver cancer being on the list of obesity-associated cancers,” Campbell said in a journal news release. “This is yet another reason to maintain a body weight in the ‘normal’ range for your height.”

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