Obesity and breast cancer: Preventive and therapeutic possibilities for bariatric surgery

Obesity (Silver Spring). 2022 Mar;30(3):587-598. doi: 10.1002/oby.23369.


Breast cancer is the most common and second deadliest malignancy in women. With rising obesity rates and building evidence for a strong association with obesity, the incidence of breast cancer can be expected to increase. Weight loss reduces breast cancer risk, the mechanisms of which are still poorly understood. As an effective therapy for obesity, bariatric surgery may be a powerful tool in breast cancer prevention and treatment. This review details the potential physiologic mechanisms that may underlie this association, as well as recently published studies that reinforce the link between bariatric surgery and a reduction in incident breast cancer. The use of bariatric surgery as an adjunct therapy in endometrial cancer also raises the potential for similar use in select breast cancer patients. Despite the expanding potential applications of bariatric surgery in this field, publications to date have been strictly observational, highlighting a need for future clinical trials.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Bariatric Surgery* / adverse effects
  • Breast Neoplasms* / complications
  • Breast Neoplasms* / prevention & control
  • Breast Neoplasms* / surgery
  • Endometrial Neoplasms* / complications
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Obesity / complications
  • Obesity / epidemiology
  • Obesity / surgery
  • Obesity, Morbid* / surgery
  • Weight Loss