Poor self-esteem, embarrassment putting fat women at increased breast cancer risk

March 17th, 2009 - 5:50 pm ICT by ANI  

Washington, Mar 17 (ANI): Poor self-esteem, embarrassment and unwanted weight loss advice from doctors are steering obese women away from regular breast cancer screening, thereby putting themselves at an increased risk of developing the disease.

The research team led by Nisa Maruthur from The John Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore, USA has shown that obese women are 20 percent less likely to have had a recent mammography than normal weight women, especially among the white population.

The authors highlight a number of reasons why obese women may not be undergoing breast cancer screening.

It could be delay in taking up medical care because of poor self-esteem and body image, embarrassment, a perceived lack of respect from their health care providers and unwanted weight loss advice.

The authors also suggest that there are racial differences in obesity-related body image, which may explain the difference in take-up of mammography between white and black women.

During the study, the researchers conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis of 17 studies comprising over 276,000 participants.

The main implication of our study is that a lack of routine screening mammography may explain some of the increased breast cancer mortality in obese postmenopausal women.

Clinicians should be aware of this disparity in evaluating their own practices, they added.

The study appears in Springers Journal of General Internal Medicine. (ANI)

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