Washington, June 20 : Researchers from McGill University Health Centre (MUHC) have revealed that weight loss surgery can significantly cut cancer risk by up to 80 percent.
The study led by Dr. Nicolas Christou has shown that bariatric surgery not only allows obese patients to lose up to 70 percent of their excess weight and to maintain weight loss, it also lowers cancer risk.
During the study, the researchers compared 1,035 morbidly obese patients who underwent bariatric surgery at the MUHC between 1986 and 2002 with 5,746 patients with the same weight profile who did not undergo the operation.
They fund that the number of cancer diagnoses in first group was 85 percent lower for breast cancer and 70 percent lower for colon and pancreatic cancers, and was also distinctly lower for several other types of cancer.
"The relationship between obesity and many forms of cancer is well established," said Dr. Christou.
"Bariatric surgery is an extremely efficient tool in the treatment of morbid obesity and its consequences.
"Excess body fat is widely thought to be responsible for increased hormone production, a major risk factor for breast and colon cancer.
"Thus modifications to the patient's hormonal metabolism due to weight loss might explain the lower incidence of these cancers in patients who underwent surgery.
"This is one of the first studies to suggest that bariatric surgery might prevent the risk of cancer for a significant percentage of morbidly obese people.
"We're hoping that these results will help the government and public health authorities realize the importance of this procedure in the fight against the various pathologies associated with obesity," he added.
The study was presented at the 25th Annual Meeting of the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery.