Weight Loss Surgery Can Reduce Cancer Risk*

Obesity is one of the leading causes of preventable death in the United States. And it is no wonder, with two-thirds of the adult population of the US being either overweight or obese, and many children now struggling with obesity starting from an incredibly young age. Once you are overweight or obese it is very difficult to lose weight and keep it off. Being overweight as a child increases the likelihood that you are going to be overweight or even obese as an adult, and this further increases your risk for a collection of obesity-related diseases, including heart disease and type-2 diabetes.

Losing weight has long been recognized as a way to improve your health. By losing weight you can drastically reduce your risk of having a heart attack, and in many cases can even reverse the onset of type-2 diabetes. Now another health benefit can be added to the top of this list, as researchers have found that weight loss surgery specifically is found to drastically reduce the risk of cancer development in obese individuals—with up to a 33 percent reduction in cancer risk as reported by Reuters.

Being overweight or obese has long been associated with increased risk of certain types of cancer, including esophageal cancer, liver cancer, pancreatic cancer and colorectal cancer. In fact, obese individuals are almost twice as likely to get liver or esophageal cancer as is the rest of the population.

Knowing this may make it not so surprising that weight loss surgery is associated with a decreased risk of cancer development. What is surprising, however, is that the 33% decrease in cancer risk held true across all types of cancer—including breast cancer and lung cancer, which were not previously associated with obesity to any large extent.

Researchers are trying to understand why weight loss surgery specifically seems to have such an impact on cancer risk. The current explanation is that weight loss surgery encourages individuals to undergo a major lifestyle shift—one that encourages them to focus more on their health and the daily small decisions that encourage a healthy lifestyle. Making this lifestyle change and undergoing these adjustments to be healthier across one’s dietary and exercise habits may be the key to preventing the onset of cancer.

So, if you are considering weight loss surgery as a way to overcome obesity and improve your health, then there is yet another reason as to why this may be the right choice for you. For more information about the benefits of weight loss surgery and how it can change your life, talk to your weight loss surgeon.

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*Weight loss surgery results vary between individuals depending on the initial weight, medical conditions and adherence to prescribed treatments. Speak to Dr. Bass about the results you can expect.