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Reduce your risk of cancer by 32%, study shows

Reduce your risk of cancer by 32%, study shows

Reduce your risk of cancer by 32%, according to the findings of a new study. A study conducted at the Cleveland Clinic found that obese people who underwent bariatric surgery to lose weight had a lower risk of developing cancer by 32%. They also have a lower risk of passing away from cancer by 48%. This is compared to obese adults who did not have bariatric surgery.


The findings of the study were published in the peer-reviewed medical journal JAMA. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), approximately 42 percent of adult Americans are obese. According to the CDC, obese people have a higher risk of developing 13 different types of cancer.  This accounts for 40% of all malignancies diagnosed in the United States each year.

Ali Aminian, MD, who led the study and is the head of the Bariatric & Metabolic Institute at the Cleveland Clinic, says that bariatric surgery is now the best way to treat obesity.

Ali Aminian, MD, head of the Bariatric & Metabolic Institute at the Cleveland Clinic
Ali Aminian, MD, head of the Bariatric & Metabolic Institute at the Cleveland Clinic

Patients who undergo surgery can lose up to 40% of their total weight. This weight loss can last for decades. “The startling findings of this study suggest that the risk of cancer decreases in direct proportion to the amount of weight that is lost,” said Aminian.

Over 30,000 patients from the Cleveland Clinic took part in the study. The study is known as SPLENDID (Surgical Procedures and Long-term Effectiveness in Neoplastic Disease Incidence and Death). The study looked at the effectiveness of surgical procedures in reducing the risk of death from cancer.

Reduce your risk of cancer by 32% through bariatric surgery

A sample of 5,053 adult patients with obesity who underwent bariatric surgery between the years 2004 and 2017 was matched 1:5. That is, with a control group consisting of 25,265 people who did not have surgery for their obesity.

At the end of the study period of ten years, 2.9% of patients who underwent bariatric surgery and 4.9% of those in the group that did not undergo surgery had cancer due to their obesity. The International Agency for Research on Cancer identifies obesity as a risk factor for 13 different types of cancer. This includes endometrial cancer, postmenopausal breast cancer, and cancers of the colon, liver, pancreas, ovary, and thyroid.

After ten years, cancer was the cause of death for 1.4% of patients. That is, in the non-surgical group and 0.8% of patients in the surgical group. According to this data, having bariatric surgery is connected with a decrease of 48%. That is, in the probability of dying from cancer.

Bariatric surgery has been shown to be beneficial for patients of all demographics. This was according to the researchers who conducted the study, which included women, men and patients of all ages. It also includes patients of all races, including black and white patients.


In addition, patients who had either the gastric bypass or the gastric sleeve procedure saw advantages that were comparable to one another.

Steven Nissen, M.D., Chief Academic Officer of the Heart, Vascular and Thoracic Institute
Steven Nissen, M.D., Chief Academic Officer of the Heart, Vascular and Thoracic Institute

The principal author of the study, Steven Nissen, M.D., Chief Academic Officer of the Heart, Vascular and Thoracic Institute, stated that, “According to the American Cancer Society, obesity is second only to cigarettes as a preventable cause of cancer in the United States.”

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The study’s ramifications

This study offers the most compelling data to date on the potential benefits of purposeful weight loss. That is, to lower the risk of cancer and overall mortality.

In individuals who are obese, several studies have demonstrated the health advantages of bariatric surgery, often known as weight-loss surgery. The STAMPEDE trial, which was headed by the Cleveland Clinic, found that patients who had bariatric surgery experienced considerable weight loss. Also, they have better control of type 2 diabetes over time.


In patients who already had fatty liver disease, the SPLENDOR research found that individuals who underwent bariatric surgery had a lower risk of significant cardiac problems. This also includes liver disease progression.

The SPLENDID study adds significant new data to the body of research. That is, research has been done on the connection between obesity and cancer. These findings have significant repercussions for public health. That is, given the ongoing epidemic of obesity that is occurring all across the world.

According to Jame Abraham, M.D., chairman of the Hematology and Medical Oncology Department at Cleveland Clinic, “Based on the amount of benefit seen in our study, weight reduction surgery may be considered in addition to other procedures that can help prevent cancer and reduce mortality.”

Further study has to be done to understand the underlying processes. Those are the processes responsible for the lower risk of cancer following bariatric surgery.

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Cancer, which is itself a pandemic

In the United States, cancer ranks as the second highest cause of death. These make it a significant issue affecting public health on a global scale. In the year 2020, the pandemic caused by the coronavirus disease had a negative impact. That is, on both the diagnosis and treatment of cancer.

Delays in diagnosis and treatment have occurred as a direct result of decreased access to care. That is a lack of care brought about by the closure of healthcare settings. Also, from the fear of being exposed to COVID-19. These delays could cause a short-term drop in the number of people getting cancer, followed by an increase in people with advanced stages of the disease and, in the end, more deaths.

But because population-based monitoring takes time to send data, it will be many years before these and other secondary effects of the pandemic can be evaluated at the population level.

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