Weight Loss Tied to a Dramatic Drop in Cancer Risk, New Study Shows

A large new study found that people who lost significant weight through bariatric surgery received an amazing benefit: their chances of developing cancer are much lower.

The study, published Friday in JAMA, tracked more than 30,000 adults over about a decade. It found that those who underwent weight loss surgery had a 32 percent lower risk of cancer and a 48 percent higher risk of dying from the disease, compared to the same group of people who had not undergone surgery. On average, those who were offered weight lost about 55 pounds [55 kg] more than those who did not. Researchers have found that when people lose a significant amount of weight, the risk of cancer decreases dramatically.

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Obesity is a serious risk factor for cancer. Health authorities have linked obesity to high cancer rates. New research is among the largest and most robust to suggest that additional risk can be postponed in people who lose significant weight.

Although new research has focused on weight loss through bariatric surgery, the authors of the study think that the benefit will apply to weight loss through other means as well, such as diet and exercise or the use of weight loss medications. Drs. Steven E. Nissen, co-author of the study, stated that the findings “provide another reason for overweight people to lose weight.”


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