Weight-loss or "bariatric" surgery appears to cut the increased risk of cancer in obese women, according to a report in the Journal of the American College of Surgeons.
Severely "obese women are at incredible risk for multiple cancers, primarily breast and (uterus) cancer but also colorectal and other gynecologic cancers," Dr. Susan C. Modesitt told Reuters Health via e-mail. "I hope that physicians begin to be proactive in evaluating these women for cancer promptly when indicated."
Modesitt and her colleagues at the University of Virginia Health System, Charlottesville, studied 1,482 severely obese women who underwent bariatric surgery at the university and compared them with a population of severely obese women who did not undergo surgery.
Overall, 53 bariatric surgery patients (3.6 percent) developed cancer, including 15 with breast cancer and nine with uterus cancer, the authors report.
Most cases were diagnosed and treated before bariatric surgery (34 women, 64.1 percent), while 32 percent (17 women) were diagnosed after bariatric surgery.