Obese Women Often Miss Breast Cancer

Obese women are more likely to be diagnosed with breast cancer at a later stage, according to a new study, pointing to the critical importance of mammograms.

Obese women are more likely to be diagnosed with breast cancer in later stages than women who are a normal weight, according to a study presented at the annual meeting of the American Society of Breast Surgeons (ASBrS).

Lead researcher Dr. Danielle Haakinson, a surgical resident at the Mayo Clinic, reported that although tumors tend to be larger in women who are obese, they are less likely to find them when performing a self breast examination. Because tumors were more difficult to feel in overweight women, they were typically diagnosed after a mammogram. Obese women also had a lower overall cancer survival rate, most like due to the disease being at a later stage at diagnosis.

The study included 327 women diagnosed as obese, based on their body mass index (BMI), as well as 1025 women of normal weight. All of the women in the study were treated at the Mayo Clinic for invasive breast cancer between 2000 and 2008.

The study also found that obese women had a lower survival rate, which could be the result of a late diagnosis or other health issues that come with being overweight. Dr. Haakinson stressed the importance for mammograms for obese women and for their doctors, because earlier studies reveal that women who are overweight are less likely to have regular screenings.

“While a number of factors may come into play, another possibility is that obese women simply are less likely to examine their breasts thoroughly, possibly because they are uncomfortable with their body image,” Dr. Haakinson commented at the ASBrS meeting.

On the positive side, the overweight women in the study did not have a higher rate of tumor characteristics associated with poor survival in obese women. Finding cancers when they are smaller might boost their survival rate, Dr. Haakinson noted.

2 Responses

  1. lamia

    i’m 14 years and my weight is 90 kg and i’m never practice sport and i want lose 30kg soon cause when i’m fat men think i’m very obese and they don’t talk to me cause i’m very fat