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Posted: October 08, 2017

Weight loss surgery could help reduce the risk of cancer, researchers find

Doctors perform a weight loss surgery on a patient.
BSIP/UIG via Getty Images
Doctors perform a weight loss surgery on a patient.

By Najja Parker, Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Weight loss surgery doesn’t just help extremely obese people drop pounds. It also might help them lower their chances of getting cancer, according to a new report

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Researchers from the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine recently conducted an experiment, published in Annals of Surgery, to determine how weight loss surgery impacts the risk of developing cancer. 

To do so, they examined about 22,000 people who underwent bariatric surgery between 2005 to 2012 and about 66,000 people who did not, tracing their progress until 2014. 

Scientists also factored in age, race, body mass index and gender, and more than 80 percent of the participants were women

They found that patients who had undergone the surgery had a 33 percent lower risk of developing cancer, with the benefit greatest for obesity-related cancers. 

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Furthermore, the risk of postmenopausal breast cancer dropped by 42 percent and 50 percent for endometrial cancer. The chances also decreased for colon cancer by 41 percent and 54 percent for pancreatic cancer.

Why is that?

Researchers believe it’s because of the estrogen levels.
"Cancer risks for postmenopausal breast cancer and endometrial cancer are closely related to estrogen levels," lead author Daniel Schauer said in a statement. "Having weight loss surgery reduces estrogen level."

Researchers also noted other benefits from having the surgery.

"I think considering cancer risk is one small piece of the puzzle when considering bariatric surgery, but there are many factors to consider. Reductions in diabetes, hypertension and improvements in survival and quality of life are reason enough," lead author Daniel Schauer said in a statement.

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"The study provides an additional reason to consider bariatric surgery."


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