Nearly 50,000 people are diagnosed with breast cancer each year in the UK. Among these, an estimated 4,000 cases of breast cancer are linked to excess bodyweight. And a new study by The International Research Institute and Cancer Research UK claims that type II diabetes, which is linked to obesity, increases the risk of post menopausal breast cancer by up to 30 %.

The study conducted on 56,000 breast cancer patients across four continents found that post-menopausal women with type II diabetes have a 27 % increased risk of breast cancer. The study didn't find the same link between women of pre-menopausal age or those with type I diabetes.

Professor Peter Boyle, the President of the International research Unit confirming the findings said,

"We found a significantly increased risk of breast cancer in women who had diabetes, which was restricted to those of post-menopausal age. We don't yet know the mechanisms behind why type II diabetes might increase the risk of breast cancer. On the one hand, it's thought that being overweight, often associated with type II diabetes, and the effect this has on hormone activity may be partly responsible for the processes that lead to cancer growth. But it's also impossible to rule out that some factors related to diabetes may be involved in the process."

The study however didn't find the same link between women of pre-menopausal age or those with type I diabetes. And researchers concluded that high Body Mass Index  or (BMI), which is often associated with diabetes, may be an underlying contributing factor .and advised women to try and maintain a healthy weight.

Written and presented by Ann Salter