If you have bariatric surgery do you decrease your risk for cancer? Elizabeth Tracey reports

July 11, 2022

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Obesity is known to increase cancer risk, so if someone who is very overweight has bariatric surgery, does their risk for cancer decline? Kimmel Cancer Center director William Nelson at Johns Hopkins describes a new study that examines this question.

Nelson: They looked at folks who had undergone bariatric surgery and they matched them up to five fold the number of people who were also obese who didn’t have the surgery. They then went and looked at how many people got cancers that could reasonably be ascribed to obesity as a causative risk factor. Thirteen kinds of cancer. By ten years after the surgery 2.9% of the folks had developed cancer, after surgery as compared to 4.8% if you didn’t have the surgery.   :30

Nelson notes that deaths from cancer among people who were obese followed a similar pattern, with those who had had bariatric surgery experiencing fewer cancer deaths. He says these results must be confirmed however before bariatric surgery can be recommended for this purpose. At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.

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