New research indicates that bariatric surgery does not just cut the risk of diabetes and heart disease. It also helps minimize the risk of cancer.
Many individuals, such as 46-year old Jennifer Schultz, choose to undergo gastric bypass surgery in order to lose weight. For her, the results of the surgery allowed her to achieve a better quality of life. It is a way to help alleviate any weight-related health concerns and improve self-esteem. However, new research indicates that the surgery may give more. A team led by Dr. Nicolas Christou, Director of Bariatric Surgery at the McGill University Health Center in Canada, expands the surgery’s benefits.
Weight-Loss Surgery Reduces The Risk Of Developing Cancer
According to Christou, there is no question whatsoever that weight-loss surgery reduces the risk of developing cancer. This finding came as a result of comparing more than 1,000 cases of morbidly obese people who have had surgery to those who have not. Christou indicated that over the five-year period of the study, overall cancer risk of each patient was 78 percent less. Specifically, for breast cancer, the risk was reduced by 83 percent.
The results of the study reinforce what the bariatrics field has already known. Previous researches have already shown that obesity is linked with the risk of cancer. In addition to this, weight loss surgery is even touted as a reason for the decrease of incidences of cancer-related death. However, the reason for the link between cancer and obesity is still unclear. The researchers recommend further studies to determine why the surgery decreases cancer risk.
The patients who participated in the study underwent two types of procedures: gastric bypass and adjustable gastric banding. In gastric bypass, the surgeon makes a small pouch in the stomach through an incision. The food is stored in the pouch instead of in the stomach. The stomach is then attached to the distal part of the small intestine to minimize the absorption of calories. The procedure is both restrictive, because it limits the amount of food in the stomach, and malabsorptive, because it limits the amount of food that is absorbed in the intestines. It is therefore unlike other weight loss surgeries such as the banding procedure, which is only restrictive (the stomach size is reduced).
Like other types of procedures, there are some risks that are taken. Some of these risks include infection or problems with digestion. However, these risks can be minimized if the surgeon performing the task is qualified and the patient is properly prepared before and after the surgery.