Bariatric Surgery Slashes Obese Women's Risk of Uterine Cancer by 70%

Here's another reason for women to have bariatric surgery: it may prevent you from getting uterine cancer.

A new study has shown that women who had bariatric surgery to lose weight had a 70 percent lower risk of uterine cancer and an even lower risk if they kept the weight off, according to

Cancer of the uterus is the fourth most common female reproductive cancer.  If caught early, it's highly treatable. The American Cancer Society (ACS) estimates that half a million women each year survive this cancer. About 50,000 women will be diagnosed with it this year.

But here's the thing: about half of all cases of endometrial (uterine) cancer can be traced to obesity. Obese women are two to four times more likely to develop endometrial cancer than those of normal weight.

“We found that after women had bariatric surgery, their risk of uterine cancer plummeted and became the same or perhaps even a little less than in women who were not obese,” the Web site quotes Kristy Ward, MD, lead author and gynecologic oncologist at UC San Diego Moores Cancer Center. “Obesity is the second leading cause of preventable death, and this research adds to the growing evidence that reducing obesity reduces cancer. . . .bariatric surgery may be an option.”
Obese women who had bariatric surgery were 3-1/2 times less likely to get uterine cancer than women who had not had the surgery, the Web site reports. Among the nearly 6.5 million admissions of non-obese women who had not previously had bariatric surgery, .5 percent were diagnosed with uterine cancer.
The benefit of bariatric surgery was even more pronounced among women who were able to keep the weight off. While just having bariatric surgery reduced the risk of getting uterine cancer by 71 percent, the risk reduction was 81 percent among women who had bariatric surgery and maintained a normal weight.
So how can you avoid this cancer?  Risk factors include obesity, hormone treatment (such as post-menopausal estrogen therapy), total numbers of menstrual cycles, and use of an intrauterine device. While these risks are very low, sometimes these do lead to the cancer.
On the plus side, birth control pills AND pregnancy can reduce your risk.


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