Bariatric or weight loss surgery is associated with a distinct reduction in malignant skin-cancer risk, a study claims.
The finding, published in the journal JAMA Dermatology, can be described as a key piece of evidence that substantiates the connection between weight loss and malignant skin cancer.
“This provides further evidence for a connection between obesity and malignant skin cancer, and for the view that we should regard obesity as a risk factor for these forms of cancer,” said Magdalena Taube from the University of Gothenburg in Sweden.
It is well known that obesity is a risk factor for several types of cancer. The same applies to the fact that people’s risk level can be lowered by means of an intentional weight reduction, the researchers said.
Bariatric surgery involves making changes to the digestive system to help lose weight. It is done when diet and exercise haven’t worked or when the patient has serious health problems because of the weight, according to US-based Mayo Clinic.
The researchers studied a group of 2,007 people who underwent bariatric surgery and compared them with a control group of 2,040 individuals.
The latter also had severe obesity but were not given bariatric surgery. The groups were comparable in terms of gender, age, body composition, risk factors for cardiovascular disease, and psychosocial variables.
“We can say this with certainty now, thanks to our having an extremely well documented and described population that we’ve been able to monitor for a long time, and in which we can see very clearly what happens when a major, lasting weight loss takes place,” said Magdalena Taube from the University of Gothenburg.
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