Weight loss surgery (also known as bariatric surgery can sometimes reverse type-2 diabetes and reduce other obesity related health problems. New research suggests that obese women who undergo bariatric surgery experience 42% less likely of a risk of cancer. Why this occurs and if it is also true for obese men is not yet known. Obesity can greatly increase the risk of colon, breast, endometrial, kidney and esophageal cancers. However researchers found that the bariatric surgery related weight loss and reduced caloric intake did not seem to be the sole reason for the decline in women’s cancer risk, according to the July volume of Lancet Oncology.
“Evidently, one or several risk factors for cancer are favorably influenced by bariatric surgery in women,” – lead study author Dr. Lars Sjöström, a professor of medicine at Sahlgrenska University Hospital, in Gothenburg, Sweden.
Researchers followed two groups of obese individuals for 10.9 years. In the first group was 2,010 men and women that had weight loss surgery and in the second: 2,037 obese people who did not have any bariatric surgery. Those who had surgery (such as gastric bypass) lost around 44 pounds and compared to as little as 3 pounds in people that did not have any bariatric surgery. In the 10 year time period, 117 people who had the surgery got cancer as well as 169 of the people who did not have surgery. For women specifically: 79 of the women who had surgery got cancer, compared with 130 cancers in the other group of women. The researchers found several varieties of cancer were lower in the women who had bariatric surgery. However the researchers did not find a statistical link specifically pertaining to weight loss or caloric intake. There was also no reduction in cancer risk for men. It should be kept in mind that there were more women than men in this study and a larger study group might show an effect in men. Still, there are other studies suggesting that weight loss surgery does not reduce cancer risks in men.