Bypassing Breast Cancer?

The strong link between obesity and many forms of cancer is well documented. Not surprisingly, previous studies on obesity surgery have shown dramatic reductions (up to 60%) in overall cancer mortality.

These data are supported by yet another study, this time from Nicolas Christou and colleagues from McGill University in Montreal. Apart from being a renowned Canadian bariatric surgeon, Christou is also the Past-President of the Canadian Association of Bariatric Physicians and Surgeons.

In this study, published in in the latest issue of Surgery for Obesity and Related Diseases, Christou and colleagues conducted an observational 2-cohort study consisting of a treatment cohort of 1035 patients who had undergone bariatric surgery from 1986 to 2002 and a control group consisting of 5746 age- and gender-matched morbidly obese patients identified from an administrative database. The cohorts were followed up for a maximum of 5 years.

While the patients who underwent bariatric surgery (mostly gastric bypass) experienced a weight loss of around 31%, their rate of any cancer diagnosis was only 23% of that in the control group (77% risk reduction!).

The biggest risk reductions were seen for breast (83%) and colorectal (68%) cancers.

Thus, while bariatric surgery has long been documented to remarkably improve a host of obesity-related disorders including type 2 diabetes, dyslipidemia, heart disease, sleep apnea, osteoarthritis and pain, the reduction in cancer morbidity and mortality has perhaps been less well recognized.

I wonder just how much the “Run for the Cure” has contributed to research on obesity and bariatric surgery to date?

Edmonton, Alberta