Does Bariatric Surgery reduce the risk of cancer?
In most people who have morbid obesity, bariatric surgery has been proven to promote long-term weight loss and lower the risk of death from obesity, but how effective it works to reduce the risk of cancer is less clear. Here this article provides some insights into the connection between bariatric surgery and cancer risk.
Earlier studies by experts say that the risk of certain types of cancers related to hormone changes like postmenopausal breast cancer, endometrial cancer, and ovarian cancer can be reduced following bariatric surgery.
Recent research also states that the risk of six types of cancers related to obesity can be reduced after bariatric surgery.
How are obesity and cancer linked? – Does it reduce the risk of cancer?
Somehow, obesity and cancer are strongly interrelated. But the link between obesity(excessive body weight) and cancer is not completely understood from some perspectives.
Obesity or being overweight may rise the possibility of developing different types of cancer, which include breast cancer, colon cancer, pancreatic cancer, liver cancer, kidney cancer, ovarian cancer, and endometrial cancer. Obesity is said to be the second most preventable cause of cancer, following tobacco.
An expert doctor stated that obesity can trigger 13 types of cancers.
Hormones and growth factors produced by the fat tissue can stimulate the cancer cell’s growth. Additionally, excessive body weight puts your body in a chronic inflammatory state which may trigger a cellular change in cancerous cells. However, after bariatric surgery, people will lose weight which in turn reduces the inflammatory process and eventually the possibility of cellular mutation to cancerous cells is also reduced.
In addition, weight loss not only minimises inflammation but can also reduce estrogen levels (a strong risk factor for breast cancer) and positive changes in epigenetics and the gut microbiome as well.
Most obese people are physically inactive and consume high-calorie foods — both can increase the risk of cancer. Dr. Venugopal Pareek, one of the best bariatric says that following a weight loss surgery patients are strictly instructed to improve nutrition, eat less processed food, regularly exercise, and lower calories — all of which could contribute to minimising the risk of cancer.
He also told that bariatric surgery can result in significant and long-lasting weight loss, which may be a major factor in lowering the chance of developing cancer.
People who lose weight through diet and regular physical activity can also have the chance to reduce the risk of cancer. Dr. Pareek also commented that it is unusual for obese people to lose 60–70% of their excess body weight with diet and exercise alone. However, this percentage is usually obtained through bariatric surgery.
He said that by losing some weight and then gaining it back after a few months, you may not observe a decrease in cancer risk.
Bariatric surgery is typically suggested only for people with extreme obesity — typically those with a BMI of 35 or higher and having obesity-related diseases like diabetes or high blood pressure.
In the 2022 annual meeting of the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery (ASMBS) a case study was presented which conveyed that people who underwent weight-loss surgery are at lower risk of developing various types of cancer compared to people living with obesity and have not undergone any weight loss surgery.
In this study, researchers compared more than 1,600 obese people who had either gastric bypass surgery or sleeve gastrectomy surgery against a group of 2,100 obese individuals who had not undergone surgery.
This 10-year study exposed that people who had bariatric surgery had a much lower risk of developing breast cancer (1.4%) compared to people who had not undergone the surgical procedure (2.7%).
Similarly, the risk of developing various types of cancers is reduced:
- Gynecologic cancer (0.4% vs 2.6%)
- Kidney cancer (0.10% vs 0.80%)
- Brain cancer (0.20% vs 0.90%)
- Lung cancer (0.20% vs 0.60%)
- Thyroid cancer (0.10% vs 0.70%)
Only 5.2% of people who had bariatric surgery developed some type of cancer compared to 12.2% of people who did not have surgery.
According to the study, 92.9% of people who had surgery survived more than 10 years and beyond, while 78.9% of the non-surgical group survived more than 10 years and beyond.
Many other studies also had similar findings. So the benefits of bariatric surgery in reducing cancer risk can’t be ignored.
Patients live longer and healthier life after bariatric surgery because the incidence of health problems like cardiac events, and cancers are less.
For more detailed information on bariatric surgery and how it can reduce the risk of cancer development or any other obesity-related problems, consult Dr. V Pareek, one of the best weight loss surgeons in Hyderabad.