(HealthDay News) – Weight loss, particularly intentional weight loss, is associated with a reduced incidence of cancer and mortality, especially for women and for obesity-related cancers.

Sarah Birks, of Monash University in Melbourne, Australia, and colleagues conducted a systematic review of the literature and identified 34 studies that investigated the impact of weight loss on cancer incidence and mortality. The authors noted that all but one of the studies were observational and most of the studies used self-reported weights and did not define whether weight loss was intentional or unintentional.

The researchers found that, in 16 of the studies, there was a significant inverse correlation between weight loss and cancer incidence or mortality. Null findings were reported in the remaining studies. In studies that investigated the effect of intentional weight loss, this correlation was noted more consistently (five of six studies). The reduction in risk was higher for women and for obesity-related cancers.

“In conclusion, the current body of literature points to an association between weight loss and cancer incidence, particularly for obesity-related cancers, and particularly in women,” the authors write. “However, further evaluation is needed, particularly investigating intentional weight loss, but also with a focus on overweight and obese individuals and obesity-related cancers.”

Two authors disclosed financial ties to Allergan; one author disclosed financial ties to the American Institute of Gastric Banding.

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