UC Study: Bariatric Surgery Cuts Cancer Risk By 30 Percent

Oct 13, 2017

A University of Cincinnati study shows bariatric surgery can lower a woman's risk of developing cancer by at least a third.

The study reviews medical data from more than 88,000 obese patients nationwide. Most were woman since mostly women have bariatric surgery.

Daniel Schauer, MD, associate professor in the UC College of Medicine, pulled health insurance and health care delivery data from five sites operated by Kaiser Permanente in California, Oregon, Colorado and Washington between 2005 and 2012 with follow-up through 2014.

The greatest benefit from surgery was among obesity-associated cancers. Postmenopausal breast cancer dropped by 42 percent. Endometrial cancer was down 50 percent. Colon cancer dropped 41 percent, and the risk for pancreatic cancer was lowered by 54 percent.

Schauer explains the lower cancer risk is partially tied to estrogen levels. The weight loss surgery reduces a person's estrogen level.

Schauer says men whose data was studied showed no significant association between bariatric surgery and cancer risk.

The research was published online in the Annals of Surgery.