Bariatric Surgery Linked to Lower Risk of Cancer

Obesity has become a serious concern across the world and its prevalence has reached epidemic proportions in several countries. And, of late, Bariatric surgery or weight-loss surgery has been considered the most trusted and foolproof way to combat this chronic medical condition.

More and more people today are opting to lose stubborn body fat and alleviate the obesity-related health problems surgically, and they are more than happy with the results.

The science now has suggested yet another advantage to undergo obesity treatment. Doctors at University of Cincinnati (UC) College of Medicine linked Bariatric surgery to lower risk of cancer.

Morbidly obese people who go under the knife for weight reduction may have lower odds of developing cancer, the UC researchers suggest.

According to them, extremely obese patients who undergo weight loss surgery could slash their risk of getting cancer by at least a third, as compared to their counterparts without such operation.

“We found having bariatric surgery is associated with a reduced risk of cancer, especially obesity-associated cancers including postmenopausal breast cancer, endometrial cancer, pancreatic cancer and colon cancer,” said Daniel Schauer, MD, associate professor in the UC Division of General Internal Medicine and lead researcher. “What’s surprising is how great the risk of cancer was reduced.”

To determine how bariatric surgery impacts the risk of developing cancer, the team examined 22,198 people who underwent bariatric surgery between 2005 to 2012 and a total of 66,427 people who did not undergo any surgical procedure to lose those extra pounds.

After a 3.5 years of follow-up, the team found that 2,543 people were diagnosed with cancer. Investigators found that patients who had gone under the surgery had a 33 percent reduced risk of developing cancer, with a whopping 40 percent lower odds of being diagnosed with obesity-related cancers.

More precisely, their risk of postmenopausal breast cancer dropped by 42 percent and endometrial cancer risk slashed by 50 percent. Furthermore, the chances of getting colon cancer were lowered by 41 percent and 54 percent for pancreatic cancer.

“Lowering the risk of cancer is just another reason to consider bariatric surgery for the treatment of obesity,” said Dr. Schauer.“There are many other good reasons to have bariatric surgery including improvements in diabetes and high blood pressure,” he added.

“It has also been shown to improve life expectancy for obese patients”

The research, however, didn’t find any association between bariatric surgery and cancer risk in men.

The findings were published online in the Annals of Surgery.