Lower Uterine Cancer Risk, Bariatric Surgery
Obesity has been consistently linked with an increased risk of several types of cancer. Some studies have explored why being obese may increase cancer risk and growth. One theory is that people who are obese have more fat tissue that can produce hormones, such as insulin or estrogen, which may cause cancer cells to grow. Being obese also appears to be a problem for cancer survivors. According to the American Cancer Society, research shows worse survival rates for obese women with breast cancer, and obese men with prostate cancer are more likely to have an aggressive form of cancer and it is more likely to come back after surgery.
One of the cancers with which obesity has been found to be consistently associated with is uterine cancer in women. Obese women have been found to have nearly three times the risk of developing uterine cancer compared to women of normal weight.
The good news is that losing weight may help reduce this risk—especially for women who have bariatric surgery. A new study found that weight loss surgery may reduce risk of uterine cancer for obese women by as much as 71%. The risk remained significantly lower in patients who kept the weight off after surgery versus those who had weight regain, but even those who didn’t keep the weight off showed a 52% lower risk.
Bariatric surgery may be more effective at lowering risk compared with other methods of weight loss because it leads to rapid and substantial weight loss, which tends to be greater and more durable. The biologic mechanism by which bariatric surgery might reduce cancer risk isn’t known yet, but some evidence suggests surgery reduces inflammation, which is known to play a role in cancer evolution.
The findings are considered preliminary until they are published in a peer-reviewed journal, but they add to growing evidence that obesity is a modifiable risk-factor in the development of cancer. You can learn more about the risks of obesity and benefits of weight loss on our website, or by scheduling a consultation at (858) 457-4917.