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Bariatric Surgery Cuts Cancer Risk With Obesity + Liver Disease

FRIDAY, April 9, 2021 -- Bariatric surgery is associated with significant reductions in the risks for any cancer and obesity-related cancer in nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) patients with severe obesity, according to a study published online March 17 in Gastroenterology.

Vinod K. Rustgi, M.D., from the Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson School of Medicine in New Brunswick, New Jersey, and colleagues used the Marketscan database (2007 to 2017) to identify 98,090 adults (aged 18 to 64 years) with newly diagnosed NAFLD and severe obesity to investigate the effect of bariatric surgery on cancer risk.

The researchers found that 34.1 percent of identified patients received bariatric surgery. The crude rate ratio was 0.84 for cancer among patients with and without bariatric surgery. The risk for any cancer (hazard ratio, 0.82) and obesity-related cancer (hazard ratio, 0.65) was reduced in patients with bariatric surgery in an inverse probability of treatment weighting adjusted analysis. Further, in cirrhotic patients who underwent surgery, the adjusted risks for any cancer and obesity-related cancer were significantly lower. Bariatric surgery was associated with significant risk reductions for colorectal, pancreatic, endometrial, and thyroid cancers; hepatocellular carcinoma; and multiple myeloma.

"Though bariatric surgery is a more aggressive approach than lifestyle modifications, surgery may provide additional benefits, such as improved quality of life and decreased long-term health care costs," the authors write.

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