Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Fact Study - Weight-loss surgery cuts cancer risks in women

Fact Study - CHICAGO (Reuters) - Weight-loss surgery can help obese women lower their risk of developing cancer, Swedish researchers said on Tuesday.

Found that women who had surgery to lose weight were 42 percent less likely to develop cancer during 10 years of a study published in the journal Lancet Oncology.

Men in the study did not benefit, possibly because many cancers are driven by female hormones like estrogen, he says, or just get a smaller number of men for weight loss surgery.

Obesity has long been known to increase cancer risk, and evidence continues to mount.

A study published Tuesday in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that people were obese as young adults had twice the risk of developing pancreatic cancer, a particularly aggressive type.

Operations to lose weight - in which doctors change the anatomy of the digestive system to reduce the volume of food a person can eat - has been shown to reverse diabetes and reduce the risk of dying from heart disease.

The Swedish study, led by Lars Sjöström Sahlgrenska University Hospital in Gothenburg, compared 2010 obese patients who had surgery to lose weight in 2037 obese patients who received normal diet and exercise treatment.

In general, surgery is found helped people maintain an average weight loss of 19.9 kg, or about 43 pounds over 10 years. People in the diet and exercise group gained an average of 1.3 kg or about 3 pounds during the study period.

The surgery cut cancer rates in third, but most women enjoy this benefit. Among women, there were 79 first cases of cancer in the surgery group and 130 among those receiving standard treatment.

Dr. Andrew Renehan, University of Manchester in the United Kingdom said in a commentary the lack of benefit in men may simply reflect the number of men who were in the study.

He said that for women, the greatest impact on cancer prevention is probably postmenopausal endometrial cancer and breast cancer - cancer sensitive to hormone levels.

Renehan said the effects of weight loss surgery can take longer to appear in men who are more prone to colon, rectum and kidney cancer, which take longer to become apparent.

Dr. Leena Khaitan, a bariatric surgeon at University Hospitals Case Medical Center in Cleveland, said the fact that men are not likely to benefit from surgery is reflected.

"We know that 80 percent of patients who undergo surgery to lose weight tend to be women. I suspect that if we had more men, probably see the difference," said Khaitan.

She said the study and others as suggested bariatric or weight loss, surgery may be an important way to avoid costly, chronic diseases like cancer. "It's a strong argument for preventive medicine."

She said many patients who qualify for the surgery do not get it because of problems with insurance coverage, but that may be short-sighted.

A study last year in the American Journal of Managed Care funded by Johnson & Johnson, a maker of bariatric surgery instruments, found insurers recoup the costs of weight-loss surgery within two to four years as obese patients become healthier and have fewer medical problems.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Countries slow revoking laws that hurt women

Almost every country worldwide retains laws discriminating against women -- in areas including property and nationality -- despite years of pledges to revoke them, the author of a U.N.-commissioned study said on Friday.

Fareda Banda, a law professor at the University of London's School of Oriental and African Studies, said that at least 53 countries still do not outlaw rape within marriage and that women own only 1 percent of the world's titled land.

Other discriminatory laws in effect throughout the world include statutes on divorce, maternity benefits, pensions, inheritance and crimes committed in the name of family "honour".

Weak legal protection means that violence against women and girls often goes unpunished in many places, Banda said in the report requested by the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Louise Arbour.

The 47 member states of the U.N. Human Rights Council will discuss in June whether to create a post for an independent investigator mandated to shine a light on countries' discriminatory laws against women.

There are similar U.N. rights experts -- known formally as special rapporteurs -- currently investigating associated areas including violence against women, child prostitution, torture, racism, and people trafficking.

Banda told a news conference in Geneva, where the Human Rights Council is based, that governments who pledged at a major U.N. conference on women in 1994 to abolish laws that discriminate against women may need a nudge to get the job done.

"All sorts of things get in the way of good intentions," she said, noting that having a U.N. rights investigator calling attention to countries' discriminatory laws could help them prioritise it as an issue.

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