Blog Posts

Obesity and cancer

January 9, 2020

Did you know that, according to the American Institute for Cancer Research, after not smoking, maintaining a healthy weight is the best thing you can do to lower your risk of getting cancer? Being overweight or obese increases the risk for at least 12 cancers, including mouth, liver, kidney, stomach, colorectal, prostate, esophageal, breast, pancreatic, ovarian, and endometrial. Approximately 7 in 10 Americans are overweight or obese. The scary thing is, only about 52% of Americans are aware of the link between obesity and cancer.

Studies showing the link between obesity and cancer come from cohort studies, which are a type of observational study. The results from an observational study can be difficult, because there are other ways in which overweight and obese individuals could differ from individuals at a healthy weight. The study doesn’t determine that, which is why only a link can be established, and not causality. However, consistent results show that higher body fat is linked to an increased risk of a slew of different cancers. Risks for obese individuals are usually twice as high for endometrial, esophageal, liver, and kidney cancer versus normal-weight people. The risks for those who are extremely obese are higher.

There are several reasons that obesity may increase the risk for certain cancers. Some believe it has to do with chronic low-level inflammation, which is common among obese individuals. Over time, this can lead to DNA damage, which leads to cancer. High levels of estrogen are linked to increased risk of some cancers, like breast cancer, and fat tissue produces excess estrogen. Fat cells also produce adipokines, which are hormones that can stimulate or inhibit cell growth.

Obese people can also have increased insulin and insulin-like growth factor-1, which may increase the risk of certain cancers.

It’s important to maintain a healthy lifestyle, complete with a balanced diet and exercise, to lower your risk of these cancers. Fewer studies have looked into the association between weight loss and cancer risks. However, studies completed on obese individuals who have undergone bariatric surgery reveal that their risk for obesity-related cancers is lower than their counterparts who did not have bariatric surgery.


©2019 ReShape Lifesciences Inc        All Rights Reserved                  Part Number 04-0459 Rev. A

The Latest

Important Lap-Band® System Safety Information

The ReShape Lap-Band Systems are approved for adults with a Body Mass Index (BMI) of 40 or higher, or a BMI of at least 30 with health conditions related to obesity, who have not seen success with other weight loss methods, like supervised diet, exercise, and behavior modification programs. Choosing this surgery means committing to changes in eating habits for the long term.

The Lap-Band procedure is not approved for individuals under 18 yo, those with conditions that may make them poor surgical candidates or lead to poor results, such as inflammatory or cardiopulmonary diseases, problems with the stomach and digestion, symptoms or family history of autoimmune disease, scarring of the liver, individuals unable or unwilling to follow the necessary dietary restrictions, individuals with alcohol or drug addictions, or those currently pregnant. Individuals who become pregnant after band placement may require deflation of their bands.

The ReShape Lap-Band Systems, a long-term tool, may need to be adjusted if you get pregnant, sick, or malnourished. Be careful with anti-inflammatory drugs as they could make the band wear away. Like any surgery, placement of the Lap-Band may have complications such as risks from drugs and methods used, general surgery risks, how well your body handles a foreign object, or in rare cases, risk of death.

As with any surgical procedure, there are risks associated with metabolic and bariatric surgery that you and your doctor should discuss. Potential risks associated with the Lap-Band include nausea, vomiting, heartburn, stomach blockage, constipation, swallowing difficulty, diarrhea, abnormal stools, abdominal pain, weakness, incision pain, infection, fever, hernia, chest pain, band movement, stomach pouch expansion, unusual healing, pain at the port site, port movement, and/or hair loss. Additional surgery might be needed. Losing weight quickly could lead to complications requiring more surgery. 

Talk to your doctor, and/or visit our website at for more information on its benefits and risks.