Obesity is tied to a number of unwanted health conditions including cardiovascular diseases, cancer and diabetes. Unfortunately, some obese men and women have difficulty losing weight so bariatric surgery is sometimes resorted to.
Bariatric surgery, also known as weight loss surgery, involves the removal of some parts of the stomach and the small intestine to induce weight loss. Although there are risks associated with the procedure, researchers found that it helps very obese patients lose weight and improve their overall health. A new study even suggests that the surgery can lower a patient's risk of uterine cancer.
In a new study published in the April issue of the journal Gynecologic Oncology, a team of researchers analyzed more than 7 million patient records and found that very obese women who lost significant weight following bariatric surgery, their risks of endometrial (uterine) cancer dropped by 71 percent. The risk is further reduced to 81 percent in individuals who maintained normal weight post surgery.
"A history of bariatric surgery is associated with a substantial and clinically significant reduced risk of uterine cancer," said study researcher Kristy Ward, from the University of California San Diego School of Medicine. "Along with the findings of this current study, this supports that obesity may be a modifiable risk factor related to development of endometrial cancer."
Obesity is linked with endometrial cancer as too much fat tissues in the body increases the amount of estrogen known to be involved in tumor creation and metastasis, the process that involves the spread of cancer to other parts of the body.
"So there is too much estrogen, causing the endometrium to build up, but not enough progesterone to stabilize it. The endometrium continues to grow and can undergo changes into abnormal tissue, leading to cancer," Ward explained.
Obesity is a growing problem worldwide and affects about one third of the adult population in the United States. Studies have shown a significant link between the condition and several types of cancer including breast cancer, esophageal cancer, thyroid cancer and colon cancer.