A new study has discovered an association with bariatric surgery and the reduced risk of skin cancer, including melanoma. The study's findings were originally published in the JAMA Dermatology.
For the study, researchers from the University of Gothenburg in Sweden investigated data from the Swedish Obese Subjects nonrandomized controlled trial to examine the link between bariatric surgery and skin cancer incidence. The data included information on 2,007 patients with obesity who underwent bariatric surgery and 2,040 people who received conventional obesity treatment.
The team found bariatric surgery had a strong association with reduced risk of melanoma and skin cancer. The reduced risk of this form of cancer had no link with body mass index (BMI), smoking, alcohol consumption, blood pressure, diabetes, or glucose levels.
"The global obesity epidemic has been accompanied by increased incidences of many serious diseases, including cancer," the authors of the study stated. Adding, "These findings suggest that melanoma incidence is significantly reduced in patients with obesity after bariatric surgery and may lead to a better understanding of melanoma and preventable risk factors."
A Danish study found a water pill generally prescribed to manage fluid retention and blood levels could increase the risk of cancer. “We already knew that hydrochlorothiazide makes the skin more vulnerable to damage from UV light of sun or sunbeds,” Anton Pottegard, author of the study and a professor at the University of Southern Denmark. Adding, “However, we did not know that hydrochlorothiazide use also appears to translate into an increased risk of non-melanoma skin cancer."
Pottegard further explained: “If you are at an increased risk of skin cancer, due to high exposure to sunlight, have already experienced skin cancer, or are otherwise predisposed to skin cancer, you should consider consulting your physician regarding a potential therapy shift."
Dr Elizabeth Martin, president of Pure Dermatology & Aesthetics in Hoover, Alabama (US), urges people to regularly apply sunscreen in order to protect themselves against skin cancer. “Everyone can reduce their skin cancer risk by avoiding unprotected exposure to UV light,” Martin, who wasn’t involved in the study, said by email. “Don’t use indoor tanning devices, and protect yourself from the sun by seeking sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher," Dr Martin told a news portal.
Another study found applying sunscreen on your body regularly could reduce your risk of skin cancer by 40 per cent. "The association of sun exposure and sunburn with melanoma risk, particularly in childhood, is well established and this study showed that regularly using sunscreen was protective against the harmful effects of sun exposure," study lead author Anne Cust, an associate professor at the University of Sydney, told a news portal.
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