Wednesday, May 19, 2021
It has been established for quite some time now that there are many links between obesity and an increased risk of developing certain cancers. This poses potential health concerns for individuals with obesity and because everyone has a different weight loss journey, traditional weight loss methods may not be enough to negate the health risks associated with obesity. In some cases individuals may need to look into bariatric surgery and determine if that is a necessary step.
Studies on bariatric surgery and the reduction of cancer risk have primarily focused on bariatric surgery as a whole, so there isn’t enough evidence to say whether one specific type of weight loss surgery has a greater impact on cancer risk reduction than another. However, it is likely that the primary aspect of bariatric surgery’s effect on cancer risk comes from the amount of weight lost. Additionally, it has been found that bariatric surgery is associated with significant reductions in the risks of any cancer and obesity-related cancer in non-alcoholic fatty liver disease patients with severe obesity.
Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease
“Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease is the liver’s response to obesity and fatty deposits in the liver itself,” said Lana Nelson, DO, a board certified surgeon with Journey Clinic. “It starts out as fatty tissue in the liver, which causes inflammation in the liver. The inflammation is chronic and ongoing, affecting liver function and causing scarring, which can cause cirrhosis of the liver leading to other complications.”
Due to the complications that come with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, it “has been shown to increase the risk of several different types of cancer. Treatment with weight loss surgery decreases these risks,” said Namali Pierson, MD, an oncologist with Norman Regional.
“Weight loss after bariatric surgery will reduce a patient’s overall lifetime risk of cancer. As an oncologist, I counsel my patients regularly about weight loss and often refer them to the Journey Clinic to discuss treatment options,” Dr. Pierson added. “There are many obesity related cancers such as colorectal, breast, and liver cancer.”
Overall, there are many benefits to a patient’s health that come with weight loss surgery. Often times in healthcare there is a focus solely on the problems that are immediately in front of the patient, but it is equally important to try and be proactive about potential issues down the road. There are many preventive measures associated with weight reduction from bariatric surgery ranging from cancer risk reduction to improving liver health and keeping obesity from progressing and causing fatty liver.
If you are interested in learning more about bariatric surgery and Journey Clinic, call 405-515-2049 to learn more about the options available to you.