Obesity Paradox ‘Obese People Live Longer’


Lower Risk of Death After Cancer Surgery



A study has found that obesity is associated with having a higher survival rate after cancer surgery. The term “Obesity Paradox” has emerged once again in cancer patients.


It is known that the prognosis of obese patients is better when surgery is performed on coronary artery disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and chronic renal failure.


A research team led by Professors Lee, Jong Hwan and Park, Jung Chan of the Department of Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine at Samsung Medical Center and Professor Lee, Seung Hwa of the Department of Cardiology announced in the recent issue of ‘PLos One’ that obese patients have a lower risk of death after cancer surgery than those of normal weight or underweight patients.


According to the research team, obese patients had a 31% lower risk of death than normal-weight patients, and 62% lower than those of underweight patients.


The risk of cancer recurrence also showed a similar trend. In obese patients, the risk of recurrence was reduced by 19% compared to normal weight and 16% compared to underweight patients.


In addition, the research team made several interpretations about these results. Firstly, in the case of cancer surgery, which has a significant physical burden, it is easier for obese patients to regain their energy compared to normal or underweight patients.


Moreover, the ability to suppress the post-operative inflammatory response seen in obese patients is also expected to help the patient's prognosis. Furthermore, it was explained that since obese patients are often accompanied by various diseases, they were able to detect cancer relatively quickly through frequent examinations and medical checkups.


However, the researchers pointed out that these results should not lead to an optimistic conclusion that obesity is helpful in cancer treatment.


Professor Lee, Jong Hwan, who supervised the study, mentioned, "This study did not differentiate the cancer type and stage when analyzing the results. Therefore, more sophisticated research is needed in the future to accurately evaluate the effects of obesity. However, since it has been proven that the prognosis is relatively poor if the weight of a cancer patient who is about to undergo surgery is below the appropriate level, both patient and medical staff should carefully and thoroughly examine and treat the patient accordingly.”