More Evidence That Metabolic Surgery Lowers Cancer Risk

Let’s start with a few simple facts. Obesity causes cancer. Not every kind of cancer, but for at least a dozen types of cancer, obesity can clearly play a causal role. Scientists attribute between four and eight percent of all cancers to obesity. It is also true that, for now, the most effective single treatment for obesity is metabolic surgery. So we are not at all surprised to see more evidence accumulating to show that metabolic surgery lowers cancer risk.

A newly published study in Obesity tells us that metabolic surgery reduces the risk of cancer by 25% overall and by 41% in women. That’s not all. The study also found a 43% reduction in cancer deaths.

Clearly, effective obesity treatment holds the potential to prevent premature deaths from cancer.

Outcomes of 21,837 Surgeries

This new study by Ted Adams and colleagues follows the outcomes of 21,837 persons receiving metabolic surgery with up to 38 years of follow-up. Each subject in the surgery group was matched 1:1 for age, sex, and BMI with a person who did not have surgery to provide a control group. So this is a retrospective case-control study – not a randomized controlled trial.

It’s worth noting that the cohort in this study was mostly White (94%)  female (79%). Nonetheless, it was clear that the risk reduction for cancer incidence was greater in females than in males. The authors tell us that their findings with regard to breast cancer are especially noteworthy:

“Of clinical importance, this study reports significantly reduced incidence of postmenopausal and premenopausal breast cancer following bariatric surgery, suggesting weight loss in females with severe obesity may beneficially lower incidence for both postmenopausal and premenopausal breast cancer.”

The Unmistakable Link of Cancer to Obesity

This study adds to our understanding of the link between untreated obesity and cancer. The prevalence of obesity-related cancers is rising as the prevalence of obesity rises. Preventing cancer may indeed turn out to be an important benefit of more utilization of the increasing options for effective obesity treatment.

A 43% reduction in cancer deaths is tough to ignore.

Click here for the study in Obesity and here for further perspective on obesity and cancer.

Cancer, painting by Mikalojus Konstantinas Čiurlionis / WikiArt

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August 24, 2023