Weight reduction surgical procedure reduces most cancers danger and mortality in individuals with weight problems

According to new research, obese people were twice as likely to develop certain types of cancer and 3.5 times more likely to die from them than people who had undergone weight-loss surgery.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 41.9% of US adults are obese, with 9.2% being severely obese. Obesity contributes to a variety of health problems, including cancer. In fact, according to the CDC, being overweight or obese is associated with a higher risk of developing 13 different types of cancer.

People who are severely overweight and have trouble losing weight sometimes turn to weight loss surgery. Two common types today are gastric bypass surgery and gastric sleeve surgery. In gastric bypass surgery, the top of your stomach is turned into a small pouch and attached to your small intestine further down. This bypasses your stomach and reduces calories consumed. Gastric sleeve surgery removes about 80% of the stomach, leaving a tube-shaped stomach that is similar in size and shape to a banana.

According to a new study presented today (June 7, 2022) at the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery (ASMBS) Annual Meeting (#ASMBS2022).

The researchers found that after weight-loss surgery, patients experienced a large reduction in the incidence of breast cancer (1.4% vs. 2.7%), gynecologic cancer (0.4% vs. 2.6%), kidney cancer (0, 10% vs 0.80%) and observed brain cancer (0.20% vs 0.90%), lung cancer (0.20% vs 0.60%) and thyroid cancer (0.10% vs 0.70). %).

The 10-year incidence of new cancers was much lower in the bariatric group (5.2% vs. 12.2%) and the 10-year survival rate was much higher (92.9% vs. 78.9%) than in the non-surgical group. The retrospective study included 1,620 patients who underwent either gastric bypass surgery (1,265 patients) or gastric sleeve surgery (355 patients) between September 2001 and December 2019, and 2,156 patients who were matched by age, gender, and body mass index (BMI) did not agree. Researchers estimate that after 10 years, surgery patients have lost about 60% of their excess weight.

“We knew from previous studies that bariatric surgery would reduce the risk of cancer, but what surprised us was the magnitude of this reduction in certain types of cancer,” said Jared R. Miller, MD, study co-author, general and bariatric surgeon at Gundersen Lutheran health system. “The benefits of reducing cancer risk through weight loss surgery cannot be ignored and should be considered in obese patients at high risk of cancer.”

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that more than 650,000 obesity-related cancers occur in the United States each year. From 2005 to 2014, most cancers related to overweight and obesity increased by 7%, while the rate of new cancers not related to obesity fell by 13%. According to the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO), obesity is a major unrecognized risk factor for cancer and is associated with a worsening prognosis after cancer diagnosis.

Being overweight and obese can cause changes in the body that can lead to cancer, including prolonged inflammation and high insulin levels. Cancer risk increases the more overweight a person gains and the longer they have been overweight or obese.

“The data continues to grow — when you treat obesity, you prevent certain cancers,” said Shanu Kothari, MD, President, ASMBS, who was not affiliated with the study. “Weight loss surgery has proven to be the most effective long-term treatment for obesity and is now increasingly being viewed as a preventive treatment, not just for cancer but also for heart disease, stroke and type 2 diabetes.”

In 2016, the ASMBS published a statement on the relationship between obesity and cancer and the role of bariatric surgery and the impact of weight loss on not only cancer risk but also post-treatment survival.

Reference: “Incidence, Type, and Survival of Cancer After Bariatric Surgery” by Jared R. Miller, MD, Alec J. Fitzsimmons, MPH, Andrew J. Borgert, PhD, Katelyn M. Mellion, MD, Joshua D. Pfeiffer, MD, and Brandon T. Grover, DO, FACS, June 7, 2022, American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery Annual Meeting.

About Weight Loss Surgery

Metabolic/bariatric or weight loss surgeries such as gastric bypass and gastric sleeve have proven to be the most effective and long lasting treatments for severe obesity. The surgeries improve or resolve conditions such as type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and high blood pressure, and result in significant and permanent weight loss. Its safety profile is comparable to some of the safest and most commonly performed surgeries in the United States, including gallbladder surgeries, appendectomies, and total knee replacements. Weight-loss surgery is generally reserved for people who are severely obese, meaning they are about 75 to 100 pounds overweight or have a BMI of 35 or higher with an obesity-related medical condition. Obesity is linked to early death and more than 40 diseases, including type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, osteoarthritis and at least 13 different types of cancer.[1],[2],[3] Currently, less than 1% of people who are eligible for weight loss have it in any given year, according to ASMBS — about 256,000 bariatric surgeries were performed in 2019, the latest available estimates.


  1. The Efficacy and Risks of Bariatric Surgery: An Updated Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis, 2003-2012. DOI: 10.1001/jamasurg.2013.3654
  2. Steele CB, Thomas CC, Henley SJ, et al. Vital Signs: Trends in Cancer Incidence Associated with Overweight and Obesity – United States, 2005-2014. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep 2017;66:1052-1058. DOI: 10.15585/mmwr.mm6639e1
  3. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2015) The health effects of overweight and obesity. Accessed from: https://www.cdc.gov/healthyweight/effects/index.html


The ASMBS is the largest organization for bariatric surgeons in the United States. It is a non-profit organization working to advance the art and science of bariatric surgery and dedicated to educating healthcare professionals and the lay public about bariatric surgery as an option to treat severe obesity and the risks and benefits associated with it. It encourages its members to research and discover new advances in bariatric surgery while maintaining an ongoing exchange of experiences and ideas that may lead to improved surgical outcomes for patients with severe obesity.

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