Can Bariatric Surgery Help in Reducing The Risk of Cancer?

Bariatric surgery is a surgical weight loss procedure which can be performed with the help of three different types of procedures – gastric sleeve, gastric bypass and gastric band. Obesity is known to be the root cause of health several problems. While a bariatric surgery can help both men and women in significant weight reduction, it has also been linked to reduce the risk of cancer.

Over the years, various studies have been conducted to find out the exact relationship between bariatric surgery and cancer, but they have all shown varied results. As per the Center of Disease Control and Prevention, obesity is related to a number of cancers. According to a researcher at the University of Cincinnati (UC) College of Medicine, bariatric surgery can significantly reduce the risk of obesity-related cancers including pancreatic, breast, colon, and endometrial cancer. This study was published online some time ago in the Annals of Surgery, and included a medical data of 22,198 individuals who underwent bariatric surgery. It also reviewed the medical data of 66,427 non-surgical patients between the year 2005 – 2012. The results showed that patients who underwent bariatric surgery were at a 33% reduced risk of developing cancer in the follow-up year 2014. There was found to be a 41% lower risk of colon cancer, 54% less risk of pancreatic cancer, 50% drop in the risk of developing endometrial cancer, and a 42% lower risk of post-menopausal breast cancer. As post-menopausal cancer and endometrial cancer are linked to estrogen levels, a weight loss surgery can reduce the estrogen levels thereby reducing the risk of cancer. However, the important thing to be noted here is that the results of reduced risk of developing cancer post-bariatric surgery were found mostly in women. Nothing concrete has been found to link bariatric surgery with reduced cancer risk in men. As obesity is proven to be related to a number of other health problems such as blood pressure, diabetes, heart diseases, etc. undergoing bariatric surgery can save patients from a number of weight-related issues. In one or the other, it does play a role in improving the overall physical and mental health of patients.

While there is still a lot more research required to better establish the relation between bariatric surgery and cancer, the fact remains that bariatric surgery can be a life-changing procedure that can provide every patient a healthier life and enhance his/her self-confidence.