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Bariatric surgery lowers uterine cancer risk, study shows

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People who undergo bariatric surgery may have a reduced risk of developing uterine cancer, Counsel and Heal reported.

In a new study published in the journal Gynecologic Oncology, researchers analyzed data from 7,431,858 patients in the University HealthSystem Consortium – a database that collects information from academic medical centers and affiliated hospitals throughout the United States. Within this sample, 103,797 people had undergone bariatric surgery and 44,345 had developed uterine cancer.

The researchers discovered that people who had undergone bariatric surgery had a 71 percent reduced risk of developing uterine cancer, compared to patients who had not undergone the weight-loss procedure. Furthermore, if patients maintained a normal weight after surgery, they were able to achieve up to an 81 percent reduced risk of developing uterine cancer, also known as endometrial cancer.

The researchers, from the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine and Moores Cancer Center, suspect that obesity may be a risk factor for developing uterine cancer.

"Estimating from various studies that looked at increasing BMI and endometrial cancer risk, a woman with a body mass index (BMI) of 40 would have approximately eight times greater risk of endometrial cancer than someone with a BMI of 25," study author Dr. Kristy Ward, of the department of reproductive medicine at the UC San Diego School of Medicine, told Counsel and Heal. "This risk likely continues to go up as BMI goes up."

The researchers noted that while more research needs to be done, the role of bariatric surgery in cancer prevention could be significant.

“It's clear that patients who are overweight and obese should be counseled about weight loss, and referral to a bariatric program should be considered in patients who meet criteria," Ward said in a press release.

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