Reuters is reporting that morbidly obese patients who undergo weight-loss surgery greatly reduce their risk of cancer. This statement comes via a new study providing evidence of health benefits from these increasingly common operations.
At McGill University in Montreal, researchers found that the people who underwent bariatric surgery saw reductions in the risk for breast and colon cancer. Although many people see dramatic weight loss after such surgery, there are also those who (like the famous weatherman on TV) sink back into old habits and become obese once again.
The researchers tracked 1,035 such patients who were at least 100 lbs. overweight, and who had bariatric surgery. They watched them for five years. They also monitored 5,746 patients who matched the surgery group in age, sex and weight but who did not have this surgery.
The study showed that those who underwent bariatric surgery had about an 80 percent lower risk of developing cancer.
"The evidence is mounting that weight loss through weight-loss surgery, if you are extremely obese, is extremely beneficial both to your health as well as to your quality of life," Dr. Nicolas Christou, first author, told Reuters. Christou heads a surgical unit doing these kinds of operations so he has access to these patient records, but also a possible conflict of interest.
Still, in addition to cutting the incidence of breast cancer by about 85 percent and colon cancer by about 70 percent, those who underwent bariatric surgery also saw reductions in the risk for pancreatic cancer, skin cancer, uterine cancer and non-Hodgkin's lymphoma.
Obesity raises the risk for several types of cancer, including cancers of the breast, colon, esophagus and kidney, as well as numerous other diseases.