Bariatric Surgery May Lower Cancer Risk for Obese People, Doctor Says

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Recent research has explored the link between obesity and the risk of cancer development, as well as a host of other health concerns. Dr. Andrew Averbach, a Maryland bariatric surgery specialist, says procedures such as sleeve gastrectomy can help.

Most people are aware that obesity contributes to a slew of health problems, including heart issues, diabetes, and bone and joint complications. Studies are now showing that obesity is linked to certain types of cancer, as well. Dr. Andrew Averbach, a Maryland bariatric surgery specialist, says the addition of another deadly disease to the list of health risks associated with obesity may provide new motivation for some people to get bariatric surgery procedures such as sleeve gastrectomy.

"With the amount of health issues linked to obesity, cancer now being one of them, it's more crucial than ever that people get their bodies down to a healthy weight," says Dr. Averbach, a weight loss surgery doctor in Maryland. "Diet, exercise, and bariatric surgery can help people greatly improve their life expectancy and quality of life and reduce their health risks and medical costs."

According to a Japanese Foundation for Cancer Research study published in the journal Nature, obesity affects the bacteria that live in the digestive tract. This causes the bacteria to release chemicals that damage DNA and contribute to the growth of tumors and cancer cells. The National Cancer Institute in the U.S. lists esophageal, pancreatic, colorectal, breast, endometrial, kidney, thyroid, and gallbladder cancers among those related to obesity.

If obesity is linked to cancer, it stands to reason that losing weight and changing eating habits would reduce the risk of cancer, Dr. Averbach says. But for many people struggling with obesity, losing weight is not as easy as just hitting the gym.

One of Dr. Averbach’s preferred solutions for helping people get on the right track is laparoscopic vertical sleeve gastrectomy.

"Vertical sleeve gastrectomy removes a significant portion of the stomach, resulting in a tube-shaped or sleeve-shaped stomach," says Dr. Averbach, who performs advanced bariatric surgery in Baltimore at Saint Agnes Hospital, a bariatric surgery Center of Excellence. "This greatly reduces the amount of food a person can intake and helps the person develop new eating habits."

The procedure can be performed using minimally invasive laparoscopic techniques, reducing surgical risks and recovery time.

"I have seen many people effectively lose weight after sleeve gastrectomy," Dr. Averbach says. "It changes their lives. They have taken a bold step to regain control of their lives, and in doing so they've reduced their health risks, including the risk of developing certain kinds of cancer."

You can read more about the study linking obesity to cancer on the Los Angeles Times website (http://www.latimes.com/news/science/sciencenow/la-sci-sn-obesity-cancer-microbiome-20130626,0,3101848.story).

Dr. Andrew Averbach (http://www.mdlapbarisurge.com) is an accomplished bariatric surgeon serving the state of Maryland, including Baltimore, Annapolis, and Anne Arundel County, as well as Southern Pennsylvania and Washington D.C. He specializes in weight loss surgery and advanced laparoscopic surgery procedures such as gastric bypass, sleeve gastrectomy, adjustable band, reflux and hiatal hernia repair, ventral hernia repair, and treatment of gastroesophageal reflux disease. Dr. Averbach is one of the leading surgeons at Baltimore’s Saint Agnes Hospital, a bariatric surgery Center of Excellence. Dr. Averbach performs his surgeries at Saint Agnes and presents monthly seminars on bariatric surgery.

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Andrew Averbach, M.D., F.A.C.S.
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