Weight Loss Surgery May Reduce Risk of Skin Cancer

A new study shows that weight loss surgery may reduce your risk of skin cancer. Here’s what you need to know.

The physical and mental benefits of weight loss are wide-ranging and diverse, but they generally fall under one category: longevity. Shedding extra pounds can help you feel happier and more confident, which numerous studies have shown increases the length and quality of your life. 

Bariatric surgery also dramatically reduces your risk of developing life-threatening health conditions like cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, and breast cancer. In fact, many patients even go into complete remission! 

Now, researchers have found a new life-lengthening advantage of weight loss surgery — reducing your risk of skin cancer. Here’s everything you need to know about this recently discovered benefit.

New Study Finds Weight Loss Surgery Might Reduce Cancer Risk 

According to the Melanoma Research Alliance, someone dies from melanoma each hour of every day. And troublingly, incidences of this disease have doubled over the past 30 years. 

In light of these statistics, a group of Swedish researchers revisited their study from 2009 that found that obese women who had bariatric surgery also had a reduced risk of developing skin cancer. When the study was conducted 11 years ago, there was not enough evidence to confirm that weight loss surgery definitely reduced skin cancer risk. However, now armed with new information, the researchers decided to revisit old data. As they had followed the participants of the original study over the years, they were able to pick up right where they left off.

The new analysis compared 2,007 participants who had weight loss surgery and 2,040 participants who were coached on losing weight through diet and exercise. In addition to losing almost 50 pounds on average, only 12 participants in the weight loss surgery group developed malignant melanoma. Unfortunately, 29 participants in the control group developed the disease. After crunching the numbers, the researchers found that the people who had bariatric surgery reduced their malignant melanoma risk by 56 percent.

It’s worth mentioning that though the difference in malignant melanoma rates between the two groups in this study was large, the overall number of cases was small. As such, there’s still more research to be done in order to draw a definitive link between obesity and cancer. For now, the researchers who conducted this new study are comfortable concluding that incidences of melanoma were significantly reduced in bariatric surgery patients. Further, their findings may unlock even more insights into melanoma’s preventable risk factors. 

The Connection Between Obesity and Cancer

You may be happy to learn that undergoing bariatric surgery can lower your risk of developing skin cancer, but why do scientists associate obesity with cancer in the first place? Two popular theories include a sedentary lifestyle and inflammation. People who struggle with obesity are more likely to be inactive for long periods of time, which, according to the American Institute for Cancer Research, increases their chances of developing cancer. 

Being overweight also kicks your body’s immune response into overdrive, which is good when you have an infection to fight off, but not so good otherwise. Excessive inflammation can lead to chronic systemic inflammation if left untreated, which can damage your body’s healthy tissues and produce an environment that’s more conducive to tumor growth. Obesity doesn’t outright cause cancer, but the byproducts of an unhealthy lifestyle that may accompany obesity can certainly increase your risk. 

If you’re interested in learning more about how bariatric surgery can change your life and drastically reduce your risk of serious health complications, contact the weight loss experts at Long Island Laparoscopic Doctors today! We’ll walk you through your treatment options and get you started on your journey to the new you.