Body weight, especially if one has a high body mass index, has direct links to cancer, which is a leading cause of death worldwide. According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), the deadly disease accounted for nearly 10 million deaths in 2020, or nearly one in six deaths. But did you ever think that by losing weight and keeping your Body Mass Index (BMI) in check, your chances of getting cancer are lowered down. Well, if not, then we must tell you that it is so for people who undergo weight-loss surgery and shed their extra kilos, as per a study.
What causes cancer?
Cancer arises when several normal cells turn into tumour cells, in what we know as a multi-stage process. It starts from a precancerous lesion to a malignant tumour. Usually, the risk of cancer rises dramatically with age because of the reduced tendency for cellular repair mechanisms in older age.
What are the risk factors for cancer?
Breast, lung, colon and rectum and prostate cancers are the few common cancers that most people suffer from. And as per WHO, around one-third of deaths from the diseases are actually due to tobacco use, high body mass index, alcohol consumption, low fruit and vegetable intake, and lack of physical activity.
New study links cancer with weight-loss surgery
According to a study published in JAMA, individuals who had weight-loss surgery to drop the extra weight from their body, actually were 32 percent less likely to get cancer and 48 percent less likely to die because of it compared to those who did not. The findings were confirmed after a long-term study of 30,000 Cleveland Clinic patients during 2004 and 2017. All the patients had a BMI of 25 or higher, which means they were moderate obese.
“Obesity is second only to tobacco as a preventable cause of cancer in the United States, according to the American Cancer Society,” said the study’s principal author Steven Nissen, MD, Chief Academic Officer of the Heart, Vascular, and Thoracic Institute.
Similarly, roughly 5,000 patients aged 18 to 80 years who had gastric bypass or gastric sleeve surgery, were also assessed and they had never been diagnosed with cancer.
Not just that, the individuals also had a lower risk of acquiring or dying from obesity-related malignancies such as ovarian and pancreatic cancer.
What is bariatric surgery?
Gastric bypass and other weight-loss surgeries, which make alterations to your digestive system in order to aid weight loss, are collectively known as bariatric surgery. It is performed when diet and exercise is not working on the body and extra weight is putting your body into a state of having constant health problems. However, it is not for everyone who is significantly overweight.
How to prevent cancer?
The burden of cancer on an individual or the society at large can be reduced by:
- Saying no to tobacco
- Maintaining a healthy body weight
- Eating a healthy diet rich in fruit and vegetables
- Doing physical activity on a regular basis
- Reducing consumption of alcohol or at best, totally avoiding it
- Getting vaccinated against HPV and hepatitis B
- Avoiding ultraviolet radiation exposure and using sun protection measures
- Reducing exposure to outdoor and indoor air pollution and indoor air pollution
So, make sure to follow these tips for preventing cancer and let’s not forget, getting a regular checkup for early detection of any disease is of utmost importance.