Bariatric surgery cuts cancer risk: 3 findings 

Obese adults who achieved weight loss from bariatric surgery were associated with a 32 percent lower risk of developing cancer, a June 3 study from Cleveland Clinic found.

Researchers retrospectively analyzed 30,318 adult patients with a body mass index of 35 or greater who underwent bariatric surgery at health systems across the nation between 2004 and 2017. Patients who underwent bariatric surgery were matched 1:5 to patients who did not undergo surgery for their obesity. 

"According to the American Cancer Society, obesity is second only to tobacco as a preventable cause of cancer in the United States," said Steven Nissen, MD, the study's senior author and  chief academic officer of the Heart, Vascular and Thoracic Institute. "This study provides the best possible evidence on the value of intentional weight loss to reduce cancer risk and mortality." 

The study was published in JAMA. 

Key findings: 

  • Ninety-six patients in the bariatric surgery group and 780 patients in the nonsurgical control group had an incident of obesity-associated cancer during the follow-up period. 

  • Twenty-one patients in the bariatric surgery group and 205 patients in the nonsurgical control group died of cancer during the follow-up period, meaning bariatric surgery is associated with a 48 percent lower risk of cancer-related mortality.

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