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Obesity may keep some women from getting screened for breast, cervical cancer
Date:3/24/2008

CHAPEL HILL A review of cancer screening studies shows that white women who are obese are less likely than healthy weight women to get the recommended screenings for breast and cervical cancer, according to researchers at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hills School of Public Health.

The trend was not seen as consistently among black women; however there were fewer high quality studies that examined black women separately.

Obesity is increasing, and so is the evidence that obesity increases the risk of certain cancers like colorectal cancer and post-menopausal breast cancer, said Sarah S. Cohen, lead author of the article published online today by the American Cancer Society. Its a disturbing trend, then, to see that women who are at increased risk of cancer because of their body size are less likely to be receiving screening tests that can detect cancer early, when it is treatable.

Cohen and her colleagues from the UNC School of Public Healths epidemiology department and the UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center reviewed 32 relevant published studies on breast, cervical and colorectal cancers that considered associations between obesity and screening tests recommended for women in the United States.

The most consistent associations reported across all the studies were for cervical cancer screenings, with fewer women getting the recommended screening test (Papanicolaou or Pap tests) as body mass index increased. The studies showed a stronger trend among white women than black women.

The studies also showed lower rates of mammograms which screen for breast cancer among obese white women compared to healthy weight women. Again, this trend was not observed in black women. Body size was not consistently related to screening for colorectal cancer among any groups of women in the studies that were reviewed.

Breast, cervical and colorectal cancers accounted for 326,290 new cancers cases and 6
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Contact: Patric Lane
patric_lane@unc.edu
919-962-8596
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Source:Eurekalert

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