Two important new studies have recently been published in European medical journals about obesity–related cancers and reductions in patients’ diabetic microvascular disease after bariatric surgery.
In a study by British Medical Journal, researchers analyzed 204 publications, exploring the connection between obesity, weight gain, waist circumference and 36 different cancers. They found that people who are obese have a greater risk of developing and dying from 11 types of cancer including malignancies of the breast, ovary, kidney, pancreas, colon, rectum and bone marrow. The associative evidence for the other 25 cancers exists but was not statistically significant.
To understand their findings, it’s helpful to know that a BMI between 18.5 and 24.9 is considered a healthy weight, a BMI between 25 to 29.9 is overweight, a BMI of 30 or above is obese, and a BMI of 40 or higher is considered morbidly obese.
This study found that for every 5 BMI units gained, the risk of cancer increased significantly; risk of rectal cancer rose 9% among men and the risk of tumors in the biliary tract system rose 56%.
For women, weight gain and extra belly fat—a measurement known as waist–to–hip circumference ratio—were also associated with an increased risk of certain cancers. Every 0.1-unit increase in waist–to–hip ratio was associated with a 21 percent jump in odds of developing endometrial cancer. After menopause, every 11 pounds gained during adulthood increased a woman‘s risk of breast cancer by 11 percent; specifically, this was found in women who didn‘t take hormones to ease menopause symptoms—a treatment that is independently linked to an increased risk of breast cancer.
Researchers found strong evidence linking weight gain to colorectal cancer. They also found a strong connection between BMI increases and the development of cancers of the gallbladder, stomach and ovaries, as well as dying from bone marrow tumors. The authors of the study concluded that more research is needed to assess changes in body fat over time to better understand how obesity directly influences the risk of getting cancer or dying from the disease.
In the second study, Swedish researchers found that after undergoing bariatric surgery, patients with obesity and either prediabetes or type 2 diabetes saw a reduced long–term risk for microvascular complications compared with similar patients who did not have bariatric surgery. Diabetic microvascular complications affect the eyes, kidneys, and peripheral nerves among others body parts, which can lead to dreaded long–term complications of these organs, such as blindness, kidney failure, and limb loss.
They analyzed more than 15 years of data from 4,032 patients separated into surgical and nonsurgical arms, the time–to–first microvascular event, and noted that the incidence of microvascular disease was lower in the bariatric surgery group versus the control group. The most common observed microvascular complication was diabetic retinopathy, which was reduced after bariatric surgery across all glycemic subgroups. “We need new, effective nonsurgical treatments for prediabetes,” one of the authors said. “Our research shows that prediabetes is a serious condition that should be treated, and that this can be done by bariatric surgery. However, it is not possible to operate all obese patients with prediabetes.”
The bottom-line: bariatric surgery significantly reduces the odds of developing certain cancers and, for those who are diabetic or prediabetic, it significantly delays or completely prevents the development of diabetic microvascular disease that would normally lead to blindness, kidney failure, and limb loss.
Bariatric surgery is proving to have so many benefits! The never-ending cycle of diets, shots, and pills can’t compare.
If you are suffering from obesity and tired of yo–yo dieting, drugs, and fads, it’s of the utmost importance that you seek the most effective and progressive treatment options available to you. At University Bariatrics, we consider all your options during your consultation and create a personalized weight–loss plan to help you along your journey to a healthier life. Call us or visit us on the web to attend a free bariatric surgery seminar and set up your private consultation.