Can Weight Loss Surgery Lower Cancer Risk?
If you have struggled to lose weight, you know that it takes hard work and dedication – it takes a shift in thinking and often a shift in how you live life. For many, though, diets and exercise regimens aren’t enough and weight loss surgery is the answer.
Bariatric surgery not only helps people lose unhealthy extra pounds, but it also offers a lot of additional benefits. In fact, a recent study published in the journal Obesity Surgery shows that weight loss surgery can also help reduce the risk of cancer diagnosis rates.
Brazilian researchers combined the results of 13 studies that had more than 54,000 people included. Each study looked at cancer rates after bariatric surgery. Cancer rates for the obese are as high as two per 1,000 person-years (the number of years times the number of people in a population affected by a certain illness). However, in those who had the surgery, the researchers found the rate was about one per 1,000 person-years, or nearly that of normal-weight people.
The follow-up ranged from two to 23 years after the surgery. The American Cancer Society reports that one in three cancer deaths are linked to excess weight, inactivity, or poor eating habits, so the results of this study shows great promise for individuals that are looking to reap the benefits of weight loss surgery.
Obesity rates have increased greatly in the last few decades in both adults and children. Cancer is just one of the risks of obesity. Individuals that are overweight also have increased risk of coronary heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, and diabetes. They are also at increased risk for chronic pain or other diseases. All of these can be debilitating and influence quality of life.
The first step to combating obesity is to be aware of what you eat and to stay active on a regular basis. Know your limitations and talk to your doctor about how you can successfully battle obesity. Weight loss surgery does have risks, so it should not be entered into lightly. You should discuss the risks and benefits with your doctor in detail before deciding that it is right for you.