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Gastric Bypass Surgery Cuts Cancer Mortality in Half

For anyone still skeptical about the tremendous benefit of bariatric surgery for severe obesity in reducing cancer mortality, here is a new study by Ted Adams and colleagues from the University of Utah, published in the latest issue of OBESITY.

Adams and colleagues examined cancer incidence and mortality data through 2007 from the Utah Cancer Registry (UCR) in 6,596 Utah patients who had gastric bypass for severe obesity (1984-2002) and 9,442 severely obese persons who had applied for Utah Driver’s Licenses (1984-2002).

Over a 24-year follow-up period (mean 12.5 years), total cancer incidence was almost 25% lower in the surgical group compared to controls, this difference being largely attributable to a decreased incidence of cancers at advanced stages in the surgical group.

Overall cancer mortality was 46% lower in the surgery group compared to controls. Interestingly, while the reduction in new cancers was largely limited to cancers known to be related to obesity (e.g. breast, colon, etc.), the reduction in mortality was from all cancers.

This analysis is consistent with previous reports on up to 60% reduction in cancer mortality in bariatric surgical patients.

It appears that short of smoking cessation, bariatric surgery is perhaps the most effective measure for prevention of cancer and lowering cancer mortality in modern medicine.

Toronto, Ontario
(from the meeting on Building Authentic Trust to Address the Epidemic of Obesity and Chronic Diseases)


  1. Thanks so much for your blog – as a morbidly obese woman working her way towards a normal, healthy weight, your science and insight are important to me.

    I have a question about your conclusion in this post – is it that bariatric surgery is the the most effective measure for prevention of cancer and lowering cancer mortality in modern medicine, or do you think radical weight loss in general is what the key is? The study just compared severely obese folks who didn’t necessarily attempt to lose any weight to bariatric surgery patients, right? So, it might perhaps be useful to also look at cancer mortality rates and cancer occurence rates of severely obese people who lost weight via other methods as well, in order to posit your final conclusion.

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