Bariatric Surgery Protects Against Cancer

Article published on 26th June 2008

Surgery that either restricts the stomach (such as through the application of a 'gastric band') or reduces the stomach in size actually reduces the chances of those undergoing the surgery from contracting cancer by up to 80%, as well as reducing their weight and the more obvious health problems attendant to being overweight.

The sorts or surgery that modifies the stomach to restrict how much food can fit in it and so how many calories can be absorbed is called Bariatric surgery, and when successful it allows morbidly obese people to lose up to 70% of their excess body fat and to keep it off.

A recent study conducted by a group of Canadian scientists from the McGill University Health Centre in Montreal, looked at just over one thousand patients who underwent bariatric surgery between 1986 and 2002, comparing them to over five thousand seven-hundred morbidly obese patients who had not undergone the surgery.

Morbidly obese patients are those that are so overweight that their health has been fundamentally compromised, meaning that they are prone to all sorts of knock-on health problems, ranging from 'mechanical' issues with their joints, bones and respiratory system, to more critical and life threatening illnesses like diabetes, heart disease and cancer.

The findings of the research were presented at this year's American Society for Metabolic & Bariatric Surgery in Montreal. Amongst those patients who underwent bariatric surgery, there were 85% fewer cases of breast cancer and 70% fewer cases of pancreatic and colon cancers just as three examples.

In an interview, Nicolas Christou, the professor who headed up the research, said: "The relationship between obesity and many forms of cancer is well established. This is one of the first studies to suggest that bariatric surgery might prevent the risk of cancer for a significant percentage of morbidly obese people."

He went on to say: "Bariatric surgery is an extremely efficient tool in the treatment of morbid obesity and its consequences."

Although most reputable insurance companies will not discriminate on grounds of weight and body size, it may be more difficult for the 'morbidly' obese to get the health and life policies they want, purely because of the critical illnesses associated with being that size. Likewise, being obese to that scale can also effect work productivity and so may affect access to income protection insurance.

Be sure to seek independent advice before accepting a rejection based upon your weight.


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