Weight Comes Between Women and Cancer Screenings
WebMD News Archive
Does this study show that overweight women are woefully underserved in
getting screening for these cancers? Probably not, Kamran Torbati, MD, tells
WebMD. He says the way the study was designed was not ideal for looking at this
issue. "Additionally, the differences in rates between the overweight and
normal women weren't that drastic. ... I don't think there's a huge conclusion
to be made from this study." He is an ob-gyn in private practice in Encino,
Calif., and was not involved in the study.
"Future studies should tell us more than how many women received
mammography and Pap smears," writes Russell Harris, MD, MPH, in an
editorial accompanying the study that urged physicians to take a new approach
in patient-physician education. "They should also examine ... how we can
reach 100% in effective communication with all of our patients." He is
affiliated with the University of North Carolina School of Medicine in Chapel
- Overweight and obese women are at higher risk for getting breast and
cervical cancers, but new research shows that these same women are less likely
to receive Pap smears and mammograms, the recommended screening tests.
- The authors of the study speculate that physicians may have negative
attitudes toward their overweight patients, or the patients' low self-esteem
may prevent them from seeking care.
- Among black women, obesity did not affect the rate of Pap smears or
mammography, perhaps because weight is less of a stigma in black culture.