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Bariatric Surgery Cuts Cancer Risk for Women
Date:6/23/2009

Finding adds to the link between obesity and cancer, experts say,,

TUESDAY, June 23 (HealthDay News) -- Obese women who have weight-loss surgery may reduce their risk of developing cancer, but there appears to be no such benefit for men, Swedish researchers report.

Obesity is associated with an increased risk of developing many different cancers. In the United States, obesity is linked with 14 percent of cancer deaths in men and 20 percent of such deaths in women, according to background information in the study.

Data from the Swedish Obese Subjects (SOS) study had previously shown that bariatric surgery has favorable effects on body weight, diabetes, other cardiovascular risk factors, heart structure and function, and health-related quality of life. "We now show a strong reduction in the female cancer incidence," said lead researcher Dr. Lars Sjostrom, a professor in the Department of Body Composition and Metabolism at Sahlgrenska University Hospital in Gothenburg, Sweden.

The report is published in the June 24 online edition of The Lancet Oncology.

For the study, Sjostrom and colleagues collected data on 2,010 obese patients who underwent weight-loss surgery and compared them with 2,037 obese patients who did not have surgery.

People who underwent surgery lost about 44 pounds, while those who didn't gained about 3 pounds, according to the report.

Over almost 11 years of follow-up, the researchers found that women who had weight-loss surgery lowered their risk of cancer by 42 percent compared with women who did not have the surgery. There was no reduction in the risk for cancer among obese men who had the surgery, the study authors noted.

"Bariatric surgery is reducing cancer incidence in women but not in men," Sjostrom said. "The favorable effect of bariatric surgery could not be demonstrated to be mediated by weight loss or reduced energy intake."

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