Weight-Loss Surgery Helps Reduce Long-Term Risks for Cancer

The battle against obesity has long been associated with a multitude of health risks, including an increased susceptibility to various types of cancer. However, recent research offers a glimmer of hope, particularly for women struggling with obesity. A groundbreaking study spanning four decades has unveiled a promising link between weight-loss surgery and a reduced long-term risk of cancer in women. This revelation could potentially revolutionize how we perceive the impact of weight-loss surgery, with significant implications for cancer prevention and overall public health.

The Study and its Findings

A recent study, published in the journal Obesity, has garnered attention for its extensive 40-year follow-up on the effects of weight-loss surgery on cancer risk in both men and women. The study’s findings have underlined a significant gender-based disparity in the outcomes. While male bariatric surgery patients did not exhibit a lower cancer risk, female patients experienced a remarkable reduction in long-term cancer risks.

The researchers observed a noteworthy decrease in the risk of several cancers among women who underwent weight-loss surgery. These cancers included uterine, ovarian, and colon cancers, as well as pre-and post-menopausal breast cancer. This groundbreaking discovery suggests a multifaceted relationship between obesity, weight loss, and the development of certain types of cancer in women.

Uterine Cancer: A Promising Reduction in Risk

Uterine cancer, also known as endometrial cancer, is a type of cancer that affects the lining of the uterus. Obesity has long been identified as a risk factor for this type of cancer, primarily due to the hormonal imbalances and inflammation associated with excess adipose tissue. The study’s findings shed light on the potential of weight-loss surgery to mitigate this risk among women, offering a glimmer of hope for those susceptible to uterine cancer.

Ovarian Cancer and Colorectal Cancer: Encouraging Insights

The study also highlighted a decreased risk of ovarian and colorectal cancers among women who underwent weight-loss surgery. Ovarian cancer, often referred to as the “silent killer,” is notoriously difficult to detect in its early stages. The discovery that weight-loss surgery could potentially reduce its incidence brings optimism to the realm of ovarian cancer prevention.

Likewise, colorectal cancer, which encompasses cancers of the colon and rectum, is influenced by factors such as obesity, diet, and lifestyle. The study’s findings suggest that weight-loss surgery might contribute to reducing the risk of colorectal cancer in women, emphasizing the interconnectedness of weight management and cancer prevention.

Breast Cancer: Pre- and Post-Menopausal Benefits

Breast cancer is one of the most common cancers affecting women worldwide. The study’s results underscored a reduction in the risk of both pre- and post-menopausal breast cancer among women who underwent weight-loss surgery. The link between obesity and breast cancer is multifaceted, involving hormonal imbalances, chronic inflammation, and insulin resistance. The study’s findings hint at the potential for weight-loss surgery to address these underlying factors, subsequently decreasing the risk of breast cancer.

Implications and Future Directions

The implications of this groundbreaking study are profound, offering new avenues for cancer prevention and management in women struggling with obesity. However, several questions remain unanswered, and further research is needed to fully understand the mechanisms underlying this protective effect of weight-loss surgery. Additionally, the study’s focus on women leaves a gap in our understanding of how weight-loss surgery affects cancer risk in men.

Furthermore, while weight-loss surgery shows promise in reducing the risk of certain types of cancer, it’s important to note that surgery is not a one-size-fits-all solution. The decision to undergo weight-loss surgery should be made after careful consideration of individual health factors and in consultation with medical professionals.


The study’s remarkable findings underscore the potential of weight-loss surgery to significantly reduce the long-term risks of uterine, ovarian, colon, and breast cancers in women. This discovery represents a significant step forward in the field of cancer prevention and management, offering hope to those struggling with obesity-related health risks. As further research unravels the intricate mechanisms at play, healthcare providers and policymakers may integrate these insights into comprehensive strategies for addressing both obesity and cancer in women.


El Camino Women’s Medical Group offers the latest Minimally Invasive Solutions for gynecologic problems.   Drs. Amy TengErika Balassiano, Pooja Gupta, and Christina Lam, all members of AAGL (American Association of Gynecologic Laparoscopy), are highly trained and experienced in the field of Minimally Invasive Gynecologic Surgery.   Dr. Erika Balassiano has also completed a Minimally Invasive Gynecologic Surgery Fellowship under the supervision of world-renowned Dr. Camran Nezhat.

All of our physicians are El Camino Hospital doctors and operate and deliver at the Mountain View campus.

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