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Weight Loss Surgery Also Helps Protect Against Cancer

Update Date: Jun 05, 2014 11:43 AM EDT

Bariatric surgery not only helps reduce weight but it also lowers cancer risk among obese people, according to a new study.

The conclusion has been made by the first comprehensive review article that took into account relevant studies about obesity, cancer rates and a weight loss procedure called bariatric surgery.

In bariatric surgery, a part of the patient's stomach is reduced to a small pouch attached directly to the small intestine. This is done to ensure the long-term weight-loss and also to reduce chances of early deaths due to severe obesity.

Statistics suggest that cancer rates in obese people are as high as 2.12 cases per 1,000 person-years.

To test the relationship between bariatric surgery and reduced cancer risk among obese people, researchers considered 13 relevant studies that focused on the incidence of cancer in patients following bariatric surgery. 13 studies included relevant information of 54,257 participants.

Researchers found that bariatric surgery is associated with a reduction in the incidence of cancer among morbidly obese patients. Statistically cancer only occurred in 1.06 cases per 1,000 person-years, up to 23 years after the surgery was performed.

It is still unknown whether the lower cancer rates following bariatric surgery are related to the metabolic changes associated with weight loss, or if lower body mass indexes (BMIs) following surgery result in earlier diagnosis and improved cancer treatment outcomes among patients, the press release added.

"Bariatric surgery is associated with reduced cancer risk in morbidly obese people," said lead researcher Daniela Casagrande of the Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul in Brazil, in the press release.

The study has been published in the journal Obesity Surgery.

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