How weight-loss surgery lowers the risk of blood cancers

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In a groundbreaking study from the University of Gothenburg, scientists have discovered a substantial link between obesity surgery and a lowered risk of developing hematological (blood-related) cancers.

This revelation has pivotal implications for future research in cancer and obesity and shines a light on new preventative methods for those at risk of these types of cancers.

The Obesity-Cancer Connection:

Obesity is no stranger to being a precursor to several health complications, with numerous studies affirming its link to various cancer types.

Overweight and obese individuals, especially women, are found to be at a higher risk of developing cancer. Intentions to lose weight have been recognized to lower these risks significantly.

Despite the acknowledged correlations between obesity and most cancers, the association between weight loss and blood-related cancers had remained relatively unexplored until now.

The Study and Its Findings

Researchers turned their attention to the Swedish Obese Subjects study, drawing data from participants and the Cancer Registry at the National Board of Health and Welfare.

The study examined 2,007 individuals who underwent obesity surgery and compared them with a control group of 2,040 obese individuals who did not undergo surgery.

Both groups were similar in terms of age, gender, body composition, cardiovascular risk factors, and other variables.

The focused study revealed that, out of the participants who underwent surgery, 34 individuals experienced significant weight loss and developed hematological cancers.

In contrast, 51 participants from the control group developed these cancers while maintaining severe obesity levels.

Primarily, the encountered blood cancers were lymphomas, and a remarkable 55% reduction in lymphoma risk was observed in the surgery group, with an overall 40% risk reduction for all blood cancers.

It was particularly noted that women with elevated blood sugar levels at the beginning of the study demonstrated the most significant improvements post-surgery.

Potential Mechanisms and Implications

The findings of the study illustrate the intricate mechanisms intertwining obesity and blood cancers, involving elements like chronic inflammation and genetic risk factors.

The researchers suggest that the metabolic enhancements following obesity surgery, such as decreased inflammation, play a crucial role in reducing cancer risk.

Magdalena Taube, the Associate Professor of Molecular and Clinical Medicine at Sahlgrenska Academy, University of Gothenburg, and the lead author of the study, highlighted the importance of considering obesity as a risk factor for blood cancers.

She emphasized the groundbreaking revelation that obesity surgery can potentially reduce the risk of these cancers in obese women, particularly those with high blood sugar levels.


The study from the University of Gothenburg brings forth enlightening insights into the role of obesity surgery in cancer prevention, underscoring a 40% lower risk of blood cancers, especially among women with high initial blood sugar levels.

The intricate relationship between obesity and cancer involves multiple factors and mechanisms, with the results hinting at the substantial preventive potential of metabolic improvements post-bariatric surgery.

This research not only solidifies the understanding of the link between obesity and cancer but also opens new doors to cancer prevention strategies, emphasizing the importance of managing obesity and blood sugar levels.

The newfound knowledge acts as a beacon of hope, providing more comprehensive options for individuals at risk and contributing to the global fight against cancer.

If you care about weight loss, please read studies that hop extract could reduce belly fat in overweight people, and early time-restricted eating could help lose weight.

For more information about weight loss, please see recent studies that Mediterranean diet can reduce belly fat much better, and Keto diet could help control body weight and blood sugar in diabetes.

The research findings can be found in The Lancet Healthy Longevity.

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