Common weight loss surgery could reduce cancer risk and death

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In a recent study, scientists from Cleveland Clinic found that among adults with obesity, weight loss achieved with bariatric surgery was linked to a 32% lower risk of developing cancer and a 48% lower risk of cancer-related death.

Approximately 42% of American adults have obesity, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Obesity increases the risk of developing 13 types of cancer which account for 40% of all cancers diagnosed every year in the United States, according to the CDC.

Bariatric surgery is currently the most effective treatment for obesity. Patients can lose 20 to 40% of their body weight after surgery, and weight loss can be sustained over decades.

In the study, researchers examined more than 30,000 Cleveland Clinic patients.

A group of 5,053 adult patients with obesity who had bariatric surgery between 2004 and 2017 were matched to a control group of 25,265 patients who did not have surgery for their obesity.

The team found after 10 years, 2.9% of patients in the bariatric surgery group and 4.9% of patients in the non-surgical group developed obesity-associated cancer.

The International Agency for Research on Cancer describes 13 types of cancer as obesity-associated cancers such as endometrial cancer, postmenopausal breast cancer, and cancers of the colon, liver, pancreas, ovary, and thyroid.

In addition, 0.8% of patients in the surgery group and 1.4% of patients in the non-surgical group died from cancer. Those findings showed that bariatric surgery is linked to a 48% lower risk of dying from cancer.

Researchers say that the benefits of bariatric surgery were seen in a wide range of study participants, including both women and men, young and old, and Black and white patients.

In addition, benefits were similarly observed after both gastric bypass and gastric sleeve operations.

The study also adds important findings to the literature focused on the link between obesity and cancer. Given the growing epidemic of obesity worldwide, these findings have considerable public health implications.

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The research was published in JAMA and conducted by Ali Aminian et al.

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