Should you have bariatric surgery to reduce your risk for cancer? Elizabeth Tracey reports


People who were obese who had bariatric surgery developed about half the number of cancers ten years later than did obese people who didn’t have the surgery, a recent study found. Kimmel Cancer Center director William Nelson at Johns Hopkins says questions remain.

Nelson: It hints that perhaps weight control might affect the propensity to develop cancer. If you cared enough about your weight to undergo an operation, one argument is that you care enough about the rest of your health to not smoke, to pursue appropriate aged cancer screening, to get blood pressure controlled, to make sure your blood sugar was better controlled, and all of those things could explain the reduced cancer risk. With that caveat it’s interesting, it’s not proven.  :28

Nelson says it is known that bariatric surgery improves diabetes and cardiovascular disease risk and that there is an association between obesity and some types of cancer, but further research is needed to establish a link with surgery and reduced cancer risk. At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.