It is very rare for a person to go through life and not, in some way, find themselves touched by the scary specter of cancer. Whether they suffer from cancer themselves, or know a family member, friend or acquaintance who comes down with this dangerous and multi-faceted disease, cancer is often an ever-present part of our lives. While cancer research is an important and well-funded part of our medical research community, there is still plenty that scientists do not know about preventing, treating and curing cancer, but fortunately, they have come to several conclusions about the best way for people to prevent cancer, and one of the most recent findings is that weight loss surgery reduces cancer risk.
A recent study, in fact, found that women who undergo weight loss surgery experience a 42 percent drop in their cancer risk over women who refuse to undergo the surgery. This limited study simply found that bariatric surgery lowers women’s risk for obesity-related cancers such as colon, breast, endometrial, kidney and esophageal cancers. What the study did not yet find was whether the same is true for obese men. Only with further research will scientists be able to make weight loss surgery recommendations for men, as well.
So if weight loss surgery reduces cancer risk in women by 42%, wouldn’t less extreme measures – such as changing caloric intake and exercises to lose weight – also suffice to reduce cancer risk in women? According to the study, oddly enough, the surgery-related weight loss and corresponding drop in daily caloric intake was not able to take full responsibility for the fact that weight loss surgery reduces cancer risk. Further research will be needed to find out just what exactly about weight loss surgery makes it so useful in the prevention of colon, breast and other cancers.
In the double blind study done over a 10-year period, researchers followed two groups of people – one large group of men and women who had weight loss surgery and another large group of obese men and women who elected not to have the weight loss surgery. Those who had the surgery lost about 44 pounds on average, compared to a mere 3 pounds lost by the control group that chose not to have the surgery.
As for the cancer statistics, 117 of the people who elected to undergo weight-loss surgery ended up contracting cancer, while 169 of the obese people who chose not to undergo the surgery came down with the dangerous ailment. Both groups were attempting to lose weight. As for the women, 79 of the surgical recipients came down with cancer as compared to 130 of the non-surgical patients. Though scientists say that they did not find a statistical correlation between weight loss or caloric intake after surgery and the decline in the risk for cancer, it stands to reason due to the findings of the study that weight loss surgery reduces cancer risk in women. Strangely enough, the jury is still out on men and their cancer risk.
As for weight loss surgery reducing cancer risk in men, scientists say that a larger study may very well be in order to determine whether this is the case. For now, scientists do think that there may be a correlation between hormones and cancer risk. For example, the female sex hormone estrogen has been known to be a culprit in stimulating the growth of cancer cells.
With cancer such a dangerous risk in our society, new studies on cancer are coming out every day. If you or someone you know has been touched by cancer, keep an eye on the news for more information on new cancer warnings, treatments and prevention methods.