Can Bariatric Surgery Help Prevent Cancer?

Although studies have established a link between body mass index and cancer incidence, it’s not clear is whether losing weight can lead to reduced cancer risk.

Says research that appears in ‘Obesity’, The Obesity Society’s (TOS) flagship journal, bariatric surgery is associated with lower all-cancer and obesity-related cancer incidence among women.

Researchers have found that people who undergo bariatric surgery group have a 25% lower risk for developing any cancers compared to the non-surgery group. Women bariatric surgery patients have a 41% lower risk for developing obesity-related cancers compared to those who don’t undergo bariatric surgery. However, the same is not true of men. Cancer risk for male bariatric surgery patients is not lower compared to those who don’t undergo bariatric surgery.

The study also shows a significant reduction in cancer risk for uterine, ovarian, colon, pre-menopausal breast and post-menopausal breast cancers. In fact, death from cancer was lower by a whopping 47% among women bariatric surgery patients compared to their non-surgery counterparts.

The important findings of this study are that bariatric surgery results in lower incidence rates of colon cancer. Also, both pre-and post-menopausal women experience reduced breast cancer incidence following bariatric surgery. This may suggest that weight loss among women with severe obesity may benefit them by reducing the risk of breast cancer.