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The Latest Cancer Prevention Strategy: Weight-Loss Surgery?

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Bariatric surgery has been shown to produce significant long-term weight loss and increase longevity. But it’s been unclear whether the weight loss resulting from bariatric surgery has any influence on the development of cancer, which is not only more prevalent in people who are obese, (a body mass index, or BMI, of 30 and above), but also is, unfortunately, more difficult to treat. However, new research reported in Obesity Surgery shows that bariatric surgery may reduce the risk of cancer in morbidly obese patients (BMI of 40 and above), although the “how” is not yet clear.

To investigate the question, researchers culled data from 13 studies that included information on cancer diagnosed after bariatric procedure. The studies included more than 54,000 participants who either underwent bariatric surgery or didn’t. The incidence of cancer turned out to be lower in patients who had the surgery.

The researchers were unable to clarify whether this was due to metabolic changes related to weight loss. Also the researchers noted that bariatric surgery is often performed on younger people, while the risk of cancer increases with age. Despite the limitation of this study, bariatric surgery should be considered when appropriate.  That and other treatments for obesity, including lifestyle changes and medication, offer many other health benefits.

 

Posted in Colon Cancer on May 25, 2015


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