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MEDIA CONTACT: Gisele Galoustian

FAU’s Charles E. Schmidt College of Medicine Professor is Senior Author on American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists Consensus Statement on Diabetes-cancer Relationship

Statement Published in the Current Issue of Endocrinology Practice

BOCA RATON, Fla. (October 15, 2013) — Charles H. Hennekens, M.D., Dr.P.H., the first Sir Richard Doll professor and senior academic advisor to the dean in the Charles E. Schmidt College of Medicine at Florida Atlantic University was senior author of a consensus statement from the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists (AACE) on diabetes and cancer, which was just published in Endocrinology Practice. Recently, concerns have been raised that medications used to control blood sugar among diabetics may be associated with an increased prevalence of multiple cancers. The AACE recently commissioned a conference and task force to make recommendations for practicing clinicians.

In this publication, Hennekens and co-authors conclude that there is currently sufficient evidence to conclude that obesity and diabetes are associated with various cancers. In contrast, however, there is currently insufficient evidence that drugs used to control blood sugar among diabetics are associated with an increased cancer risk.

“Obesity is perhaps the major risk factor for type 2 diabetes as well as multiple cancers including pancreatic and colon cancers,” said Hennekens. “The evidence is less consistent for high blood sugar, insulin treatment as well as oral agents.”

These experts conclude that clinicians can continue to confidently prescribe all FDA-approved medications to diabetics for the management of blood sugar according to established practice guidelines. Hennekens also adds that “the serious and life threatening risks of low blood sugar in diabetes are definite.” He also notes that prior concerns about higher death rates in diabetics who attain adequate control of their blood sugar are premature and unwarranted.

The multidisciplinary and internationally acclaimed task force also recommends to clinicians the improved treatment and management of obesity as well as early cancer screening in patients at increased risk. They also recommend to researchers increased collaboration and improved study designs to address outstanding concerns surrounding the interrelationships of obesity, diabetes, its therapy and various cancers.

Hennekens is a major advocate of a healthy lifestyle. He strongly advises the general public that cardiovascular drugs of lifesaving benefit should be adjuncts not alternatives to therapeutic lifestyle changes. Specifically, the major therapeutic lifestyle changes they advocate include avoidance and cessation of smoking, avoidance and treatment of obesity, and regular physical activity, which could be as minimal as taking brisk 20 minute daily walks, which can be continued even among the elderly.

Hennekens is the author of 830 peer-reviewed publications, including 624 original reports, 203 reviews/book chapters and three textbooks. From 1995 to 2005, Science Watch ranked him as the third most widely cited medical researcher in the world and five of the top 20 were his former trainees and/or fellows. In 2012, Science Heroes ranked Hennekens No. 81 in the history of the world for having saved more than 1.1 million lives. This ranks him ahead of Jonas Salk, who developed the polio vaccine at No. 83, and Henry Heimlich, who invented the Heimlich maneuver, at No. 103.


Florida Atlantic University, established in 1961, officially opened its doors in 1964 as the fifth public university in Florida. Today, the University, with an annual economic impact of $6.3 billion, serves more than 30,000 undergraduate and graduate students at sites throughout its six-county service region in southeast Florida. FAU’s world-class teaching and research faculty serves students through 10 colleges: the Dorothy F. Schmidt College of Arts and Letters, the College of Business, the College for Design and Social Inquiry, the College of Education, the College of Engineering and Computer Science, the Graduate College, the Harriet L. Wilkes Honors College, the Charles E. Schmidt College of Medicine, the Christine E. Lynn College of Nursing and the Charles E. Schmidt College of Science. FAU is ranked as a High Research Activity institution by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. The University is placing special focus on the rapid development of three signature themes – marine and coastal issues, biotechnology and contemporary societal challenges – which provide opportunities for faculty and students to build upon FAU’s existing strengths in research and scholarship. For more information, visit

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