Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Women's Health

Font Size

Obese Women Missing Cancer Tests?

Obesity May Be a Hurdle to Cancer Screening for Some Women, Study Shows
WebMD Health News
Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD

March 24, 2008 -- Obesity may be hindering some women from getting routine cancer screening.

That's according to a new review of 32 U.S. studies on breast cancer, colorectal cancer, and cervical cancer screening.

The review makes these three points:

  • Overweight and obese women were less likely than leaner women to report recent cervical cancer screening.
  • Overweight or obese white women were less likely than leaner white women to report getting a recent mammogram. That wasn't true for African-American women.
  • Women's colorectal cancer screening rates were low, regardless of BMI (body mass index). The data were inconclusive about whether extra weight worsened those screening rates.

The review doesn't explain why obesity affects cancer screening rates. But the reviewers -- who included Sarah Cohen, MS, of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill's School of Public Health -- have some theories.

Some women may be self-conscious about their weight, or they may dread getting lectured about their weight by their doctor, or they may be put off by gowns that are too small and other inconveniences in doctors' offices, Cohen's team notes.

Other factors, including health insurance and income, may also be involved.

It's important for all women to get routine cancer screening. Because extra weight is associated with increased risk of some cancers, Cohen and colleagues want to see more studies done to find ways to encourage heavier women to get cancer screening.

Cohen's review appears in today's advance online edition of Cancer and is due for publication in the journal's May 1 print edition.

Today on WebMD

hands on abdomen
Test your knowledge.
womans hand on abdomen
Are you ready for baby?
birth control pills
Learn about your options.
Is it menopause or something else?
woman in bathtub
bp app on smartwatch and phone
estrogen gene

Send yourself a link to download the app.

Loading ...

Please wait...

This feature is temporarily unavailable. Please try again later.


Now check your email account on your mobile phone to download your new app.

Blood pressure check
hot water bottle on stomach
Attractive young woman standing in front of mirror