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Weight-Loss Surgery Might Also Lower Skin Cancer Risk
  • Steven Reinberg
  • Posted January 6, 2020

Weight-Loss Surgery Might Also Lower Skin Cancer Risk

Weight-loss surgery does more than shed pounds: new research suggests it might also lower your risk for skin cancer.

"This provides further evidence for a connection between obesity and malignant skin cancer, and for the view that we should regard obesity as a risk factor for these forms of cancer," said investigator Magdalena Taube. She's a researcher in molecular and clinical medicine at Sahlgrenska Academy at the University of Gothenburg in Sweden.

Using data from the Swedish Obese Subjects study and the Swedish Cancer Register, researchers looked at more than 2,000 people who had weight-loss surgery. They compared this group with more than 2,000 people who didn't have the surgery. The median follow-up was 18 years.

Those who had surgery lowered their risk for melanoma by 57% and their overall risk for skin cancer by 42%.

Among those who had surgery, 23 developed skin cancer, including melanoma, compared with 45 among those who didn't have weight-loss surgery.

More specifically, 12 people who had surgery developed melanoma, the deadliest skin cancer, compared with 29 who didn't have surgery.

"In these contexts, it's a clear and striking change. And that's why it's so interesting," Taube said in a university news release.

The report was published recently in the journal JAMA Dermatology.

More information

For more on skin cancer, head to the Skin Cancer Foundation.

SOURCE: University of Gothenburg, news release, Jan. 2, 2020
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