Weight-loss surgery slashes the risk of getting cancer by a quarter, even ones not associated with obesity.
A new study shows that bariatric surgery is associated with lower rates of all cancer and can reduce the risks of obesity-related cancer in women by nearly half.
And the chances of dying from cancer was significantly lower among female surgical patients compared to non-surgical subjects.
Although it is known that a high BMI increases the risk of cancer, the team from the University of Utah wanted to know whether weight-loss surgery would affect the prognosis.
Whether losing weight affects your chances is difficult to study as it is tricky to keep the weight off for significant periods and many relapse.
However, because of the substantial and maintained weight loss following bariatric surgery, the team reported reduced cancer incidence and lower cancer mortality in bariatric surgical patients compared with matched non-surgical subjects.
Dr. Ted Adams from the University of Utah said: “As scientists study human diseases, an element of discovery is to confirm like results from multiple studies.
“This research represents another important study that strongly supports the long-term benefits of weight loss surgery in the prevention of cancer.”
The study was published in Obesity, The Obesity Society’s flagship journal.
The team compared cancer incidence and mortality by obesity- and non-obesity-related cancers, sex, cancer stage and procedure.
Female bariatric surgery patients had a 41 percent lower risk for developing obesity-related cancers compared to matched non-surgery females.
Significant reduction in cancer risk was shown for the uterine, ovarian, colon, pre-menopausal breast and post-menopausal breast cancers.
Death from cancer was lower by 47 percent among female bariatric surgery patients compared to matched non-surgery female subjects.
Cancer risk for male bariatric surgery patients was not lower compared to non-surgery male subjects.
Dr. Adams added: “Important findings of this study are that bariatric surgery results in lower incidence rates of colon cancer as prior studies have not been consistent.
“Also, both pre and post-menopausal women experience reduced breast cancer incidence following bariatric surgery, which may suggest weight loss among women in either category with severe obesity may benefit from reduced breast cancer.”
Commenting on the findings, Dr. David Sarwer, director at the Center for Obesity Research and Education, at Temple University, Philadelphia, who was not associated with the research, said: “Adams and colleagues have made another important contribution to our understanding of the relationship between obesity and cancer.
“The risk of cancer in women, who represent the majority of individuals who undergo bariatric surgery, was most greatly decreased.
“Persons with obesity and their health care providers should strongly consider these benefits when discussing the pros and cons of bariatric surgery.”
Produced in association with SWNS Talker