A new 20-year analysis has found that weight loss surgery significantly cuts the risk of developing pancreatic cancer in people who are obese with diabetes, according to a study presented at UEG Week Virtual 2020.

The study analyzed approximately 1.4 million patients with concurrent diabetes and obesity over a 20-year period. A total of 10,620 patients within the study had undergone bariatric surgery, an operation that helps patients lose weight by making changes to the digestive system.

The research found that obese patients with diabetes were significantly less likely to develop pancreatic cancer if they had undergone bariatric surgery, with the majority of the patients in the study being female.

"Obesity and diabetes are well-known risk factors for pancreatic cancer via chronic inflammation, excess hormones and growth factors released by body fat,” said lead study author Aslam Syed, MD, in a press release. “Previously, bariatric surgery has been shown to improve high blood sugar levels in diabetic patients and our research shows that this surgery is a viable way in reducing the risk of pancreatic cancer in this growing, at-risk group."

Syed added that preventing pancreatic cancer is crucial, with a lack of improvements in the survival of the disease for 4 decades.

"The average survival time at diagnosis is particularly bleak for this silent killer, at just 4.6 months, with patients losing 98% of their healthy life expectancy. Only 3% of patients survive more than five years,” Syed said in a press release.

Weight loss surgery in obese diabetic patients significantly cuts pancreatic cancer risk. EurekAlert! https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2020-10/sh-wls100520.php. Published October 11, 2020. Accessed October 12, 2020.