Liposuction may reduce skin cancer risk

June 25, 2012

The outcome of a recent Rutgers University studysuggests removing abdominal fat can reduce the risk of developing ultraviolet-light induced skin cancer – the most prevalent cancer in the United States with more than 2 million new cases each year.

Researchers found that obese mice who were fed a high-fat diet and subsequently had fat removed from their abdomens had between 75 and 80 percent fewer UV-induced skin cancers than mice that did not undergo fat-removal surgery.

Scientists say the study suggests that abdominal fat in mice secretes proteins that enhance the risk of cancer. Once the original fat tissue is removed, the biochemical properties of new fat tissue that appear after surgery are less harmful.

“We don’t know what effect fat removal would have in humans,” said professor of pharmacology and study co-author Allan Conney. “We would like to encourage epidemiologists to study whether there is a lower incidence of sunlight-induced skin cancer in people who have had liposuction surgery to remove fat tissue.”

Conney added that it is unclear whether reducing fat via liposuction, conventional weight loss or another method would affect other obesity-associated lethal cancers like those of the pancreas, colon and prostate.

The American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS) reports that liposuction, traditionally performed on the stomach, is also commonly used to remove unwanted fat in other parts of the body including the buttocks, hips, thighs, calves, ankles, breasts, back, arms and neck.

According to ASAPS, from 2010 to 2011, there was almost a 13 percent increase in the total number of liposuction procedures performed in the U.S., with more than 300,000 individuals undergoing the surgery. In 2011, lipoplasty surpassed breast augmentation as the most popular cosmetic surgical procedure in the United States for the first time since 2008.


Plastic Surgery News/ American Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery

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