Cancer of the skin is said to be the most common type of cancers, according to the American Cancer Society. In 2018, it is estimated that about 91,270 new melanomas will be diagnosed, and it is expected that the numbers will continue to escalate in the coming years. While practicing sun safety habits can be helpful in the prevention of skin cancer, a new research has found that some individuals may reduce their risks of melanoma even more by going under the knife.

It has been discovered that bariatric surgery can lower the risks of skin cancer. But how does this procedure, which helps people lose weight, prevent one from developing melanoma? Here’s what you need to know about this type of surgery and its potential to save lives.

What Is Bariatric Surgery?

Some people who have repeatedly tried and failed to lose weight have found bariatric surgery to be the ultimate solution to their health problems. Often referred to as the gold standard of weight loss surgery, the procedure promotes weight loss by restricting the amount of food that the stomach can hold by reducing the actual size of the stomach.

The American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery explains the procedure in detail, which entails the creation of a smaller stomach by dividing the top part of the stomach from the rest of the internal organ using a gastric band. Because the newly created stomach is smaller, a person who underwent the procedure will need to eat smaller meals, which means that fewer calories are consumed. The results are dramatic as you can lose 60 to 80% of excess weight after having the surgery.

However, due to the fact that most of the nutrients from food aren’t absorbed by the body after the surgery, you may need to take vitamin and mineral supplements for the rest of your life to ensure your overall health. While you may have to adjust your lifestyle after having this procedure, it seems like it may be worth it as it may lower your risk of skin cancer.

How Bariatric Surgery Can Reduce Your Risk Of Melanoma

Earlier this year, a new research has found that having bariatric surgery can reduce your risks of having skin cancer by up to 61%. The study, which was presented in May 2018 at the European Congress on Obesity in Vienna, Austria, involved a group of over 2,000 Swedish participants who were obese and chose to undergo the surgery. The group was then followed and monitored for 18 years. Afterward, it was found that those who had the procedure saw their risk of developing the deadly cancer drop by 42%.

While there was no clear explanation as to how bariatric surgery can prevent one from developing melanoma, it was suggested by the study authors that deep or significant weight loss may have changed the participants’ risk of skin cancer.

Should You Undergo Bariatric Surgery?

If you’re obese and live in a tropical or sunny part of the world, you may think that getting bariatric surgery is the equivalent of hitting two birds with one stone. Losing weight and having a lower risk of the most common form of cancer do seem like valid reasons for undergoing the procedure. But keep in mind that this surgery is not for everyone who wants a svelte figure in an instant. To qualify for bariatric surgery or gastric bypass, your body mass index should be 40 or higher. It’s also recommended for those who have weight-related health problems such as severe sleep apnea, high blood pressure, or type 2 diabetes. The surgery can also be your last resort if previous efforts to lose weight with diet and exercise have been fruitless.

If you don’t meet these qualifications, weight loss can still be achieved by consulting experts on nutrition and exercise. And before going outdoors, remember to use a sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30 and wear protective clothing. Healthy habits, as well as smart sun protection behavior, can benefit your health and well-being if going under the knife is not an option.

Resources & Further Reading:
Sources:

1. Key Statistics for Melanoma Skin Cancer, cancer.org,https://www.cancer.org/cancer/melanoma-skin-cancer/about/key-statistics.html

2. Bariatric Surgery Procedures, ASMBS.org,https://asmbs.org/patients/bariatric-surgery-procedures

3. Weight Loss Surgery Is Associated With A Reduced Risk In Melanoma, Researchers Say, Los Angeles Times,http://www.latimes.com/science/sciencenow/la-sci-sn-bariatric-surgery-melanoma-20180523-story.html

4. Gastric Bypass Surgery: Who Is It For?, Mayo Clinic,https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/weight-loss/in-depth/gastric-bypass-surgery/art-20046318

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