Journal of Obesity

Journal of Obesity / 2011 / Article

Review Article | Open Access

Volume 2011 |Article ID 218250 | https://doi.org/10.1155/2011/218250

Heather Bittner Fagan, Richard Wender, Ronald E. Myers, Nicholas Petrelli, "Obesity and Cancer Screening according to Race and Gender", Journal of Obesity, vol. 2011, Article ID 218250, 10 pages, 2011. https://doi.org/10.1155/2011/218250

Obesity and Cancer Screening according to Race and Gender

Academic Editor: Francesco Saverio Papadia
Received02 Aug 2011
Accepted24 Oct 2011
Published15 Dec 2011

Abstract

The relationship between obesity and cancer screening varies by screening test, race, and gender. Most studies on cervical cancer screening found a negative association between increasing weight and screening, and this negative association was most consistent in white women. Recent literature on mammography reports no association with weight. However, some studies show a negative association in white, but not black, women. In contrast, obese/overweight men reported higher rates of prostate-specific antigen (PSA) testing. Comparison of prostate cancer screening, mammography, and Pap smears implies a gender difference in the relationship between screening behavior and weight. In colorectal cancer (CRC) screening, the relationship between weight and screening in men is inconsistent, while there is a trend towards lower CRC screening in higher weight women.

1. Introduction

Obesity, resulting from inactivity and poor nutrition, is second only to tobacco use as a risk factor for cancer [1]. Obesity is associated with increased mortality for all cancers combined, as well as for cancers of specific sites, including colon/rectum, prostate, breast, and cervix [2, 3]. Race and gender are also associated with poor outcomes for cancer [4, 5]. Compared to their non-Hispanic white counterparts, black men and women are more likely to be obese and to have a higher cancer mortality rate [68]. Numerous studies have examined the biological pathways that link obesity to increased cancer risk, but biological pathways are unlikely to provide a complete explanation of the association of obesity and increased cancer mortality. Participation in cancer screening is an important determinant of cancer mortality, and there may be an association between obesity and use of some types of screening. This association seems to vary according to race, gender, and screening test. While numerous studies suggest that obesity constitutes an obstacle to cancer screening, [3, 917] the interplay between obesity and cancer screening is not clear.

Historically, blacks and women have been less likely to undergo cancer screening when compared to their non-Hispanic white or male counterparts [1821]. Obesity may be one reason for the disparity in screening among race/ethnicity and gender subgroups, either because obesity is more prevalent in these groups or because in some subgroups, it may have a more potent effect. The relationship to obesity and cancer screening is made complex by the fact that cancer screening tests are very different in terms of what is required of an individual in order to complete screening. The relationship between obesity and cancer screening may have a stronger negative association in certain cancer screening tests. For example, disparities appear more pronounced for endoscopic screening than for fecal occult blood test (FOBT) screening [19]. This situation may exist because endoscopic testing is more invasive or harder to do in obese patients relative to other screening tests. Furthermore, socioeconomic factors such as insurance status and health care access, which can be confounded with race/ethnicity and gender, may contribute to the disparity [19]. Efforts to measure the contribution of race/ethnicity and gender to variation in screening rates should take these factors into account.

In this review, we attempt to build a more comprehensive picture of the relationship of obesity and cancer screening by including the variables of race/ethnicity, gender, and screening test. Here, we review the available literature examining the interactions of race/ethnicity, gender, and obesity with cancer screening rates. Understanding the relationship of obesity and cancer screening relative to race/ethnicity and gender can inform efforts to identify and reduce disparities in cancer screening.

2. Materials and Methods

We reviewed articles which presented data on the relationship of any weight measure to screening for any of the following cancers: colon, breast, cervical, or prostate. The MEDLINE database search focused on 1996 through April 2011. First, we extracted 2,048 articles related to obesity, morbid obesity, overweight and BMI. From this group of articles we extracted those having to do with the diagnosis or prevention of neoplasms. We included various types of cancer screening tests (colonoscopy, sigmoidoscopy, gastrointestinal endoscopy, fecal occult blood testing, Pap smears, mammography, and prostate-specific antigen), as well as the more general term “mass screening”. We further limited the search by using terms that describe articles as qualitative research or evaluation studies, resulting in 262 articles. Abstracts and manuscripts were used to exclude articles which did not examine the association between weight and cancer screening in order to obtain the final 29 articles. Studies were organized according to type of cancer screening and stratified according to gender and race. Tables 1, 2, and 3 present the studies on breast, cervical, and prostate cancer screening. Table 4 presents the studies of obesity and colorectal cancer screening.


StudyPopulation/data sourceWeight categories1Findings

Chang et al. 2010, [22] Medicare and Veterans Health Administration (VHA)OW and OBThere was no significant association between Pap smears and OW or OB.

Banerjea et al. 2008, [23] Medical Expenditure Panel Survey (MEPS) 2003OW and OBOW and OB were negatively associated with Pap smears (OR 0.72 ).

Mitchell et al. 2008, [24] Canadian Community Health Survey, national population-based household survey in a universal payor system.OW, OBI, OBII, OBIIIOW, OBI, OBII, and OBIII were negatively associated with Pap smears. OR 0.87 (0.81−0.94), OR 0.79 (0.72−0.88), OR 0.62 (0.54–0.71), OR 0.61 (0.53–0.72).

Ferrante et al. 2007, [12] NHIS 2000OW, OBI, OBII, OBIIIOBI and OBIII were negatively associated with Pap smears. OR 0.65 (0.44–0.97), OR 0.43 (0.27–0.70).
There was no significant association between receipt of Pap smears and OW and OBII

Wu et al. 2006, [25] NHIS 2000OW, OB, OBI, OBII, OBIIIOBII was positively associated with underused Pap smears in African-American women. OR 1.93 (1.03–3.01).
There was no significant association in OW, OBI, or OBIII in African-American women.
There was no significant association between any weight category and Pap smears for white women.

Amy et al. 2006, [26]Purposeful sample. Questionnaire administered in focus groups formed on weight criteria.Other: BMI 25–35, >35–45, >55There was significant association between receipt of Pap smears and BMI >55 kg/m2 ( ).
There were no significant associations between receipt of Pap smears and BMI >35–45 or >45–55.

Ferrante et al. 2006, [13]Medical chart review of urban FM practices (mostly black and Hispanics)nonobese (normal and OW), OBI, OBII, OBIIIThere were no significant associations between weight status and Pap smears.

Ostbye et al. 2005, [27]Health and Retirement Study (HRS) and the Asset and Health Dynamics Among the Oldest Old (AHEAD)OW, OB, OBI, OBII, OBIIIOW, OBI, OBII, OBIII were negatively associated with Pap smears (ORs 0.78, 0.68, 0.59, 0.50)

Wee et al. 2005, [14]2000 NHIS dataOW, OB, OBI, OBII, OBIIIOBIII was negatively associated with Pap smears in white women only. RR 0.92 (0.83−0.99).
There were no significant associations between weight status and Pap smears in black or Hispanic women.

Datta et al. 2005, [28]Black Women’s Health Study 1995, USA, mailed questionnaire, subscribers to Essence, Black Women’s Professional Association and friends/relatives of participants.OW and OBOB was associated with increased rate of no Pap smear in last 2 years (OR 1.4−1.7).
No association between OW and Pap smears in last 2 years.

Coughlin et al. 2004, [29]BRFSS 1999, US women ≥40OW and OBOB was negatively associated with Pap smear use in the last 2 years (85.9 )

Wee et al. 2000, [15]NHIS 1994OW, OB, OBI, OBII, OBIIIOW, OBI, OBII, and OBIII were negatively associated with Pap smears in white women: 3.4% (−6.4% to −0.5%), −9.4% (−13.5% to −5.2%), −8.3% (−14.2% to −2.3%), −8.8% (−16.9% to −0.7%).
There was no association between weight status and receipt of Pap smears in black women.

1Predictors: OW: Overweight, OB: Obese, OBI: Obese I, OBII: Obese II, OBIII: Obese III.

StudyPopulation/data SourceWeight categories1Findings

Chang et al. 2010, [22] National Medicare claims data (Medicare), Veterans Health Administration data (VHA)OW and OBOW in Medicare beneficiaries was positively associated with mammography in OR = 1.13 , but not in VHA data.
There was no significant association of mammography in OB (VHA or Medicare) or OW (VHA).

Banerjea et al. 2008,[23] Medical Expenditure Panel Survey (MEPS) 2003OW and OBThere were no significant associations between mammography use and OB or OW.

Mitchell et al. 2008, [24] Canadian Community Health SurveyOW, OB, OBI, OBII, OBIIIThere were no significant associations between mammography use and OW, OB (including OBI, OBII, OBIII).

Ferrante et al. 2007, [12] National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) 2000OB, OW, OBI, OBII, OBIIIOBIII was negatively associated with mammography. (62.3% ).
There were no associations between mammography and weight status in OW, OBI, or OBII women.

Amy et al. 2006, [26] Purposeful sample, face-to-face questionnaire in focus groups formed according to weight statusBMI 25–35, >35–45, >55There were no significant associations between mammogram use and increasing BMI category.

Ferrante et al. 2006, [13] Medical chart review, urban FM practices, mostly black and HispanicOBI, OBII, OBIII, nonobese (normal and overweight collapsed)There was no significant association between mammography use and weight status.

Zhu et al. 2006, [16] NHIS 2000OW, OBI, OBII, OBIIIThere was no significant association between weight status and mammography in white or black women.

Ostbye et al. 2005, [27] Health and Retirement Study (HRS) and the Asset and Health Dynamics Among the Oldest Old (AHEAD)OW and OBOBI, OBII, and OBIII were negatively associated with mammogram use (OR 0.73, 0.69, 0.59, resp.).
There were no significant associations between mammography use and OW.

Coughlin et al. 2004, [29] Behaviorial Risk Factor Surveillance Survey (BRFSS) 1999OW and OBOB was negatively associated with mammography use. 74.6% .

Wee et al. 2004, [17]NHIS 1998OW, OBI, OBII, OBIIIOBII was negatively associated with mammography in white women. OR 0.83 (0.68–0.96).
OW and OBII were positively associated with mammography in black women. OR 1.19 (1.01–1.32), OR 1.37 (1.13–1.50).
There were no other significant associations.

Wee et al. 2000, [15] NHIS 1994OW, OB, OBI, OBII, OBIIIThere was no association of weight status and mammography in white or black women.

Fontaine et al. 2001, [30] National Data 1998OW, OBI, OBII, OBIIIOW and OBIII were positively associated with mammography use.
There were no significant associations between OBI, OBII, and mammography use.

Fontaine et al. 1998, [31] National Data Set (>80% white) 1992OW, OBThere was no significant association between weight status and mammography use.

1Predictors: OW: Overweight, OB: Obese (unless otherwise specified, includes OBI, OBII, OBIII), OBI: Obese I, OBII: Obese II, OBIII: Obese III.

StudyPopulation/data SourceWeight categories1Findings

Muus et al. 2009, [32]National face-to-face survey of American Indian and Alaskan men in USAOW, OB, OBI, OBII, OBIIIThere was no significant association between receipt of PSA and OW, OB.

Scales et al. 2007, [9]BRFSS 2002, men ≥40OW and OBOW was positively associated with PSA testing. OR 1.46 [1.33–1.61].

Fowke et al. 2006, [10]In-person interviews, men from 25 health centers in USA (85% black)OW, OBI, OBII, OBIIIOW, OBI, OBII were positively associated with PSA testing in black men. 1.26 (1.10–1.44), 1.38 (1.18–1.62), 1.37 (1.10–1.72)
OBII was positively associated with PSA testing in white men. OR 1.67 [1.06–2.63].
There were no other significant associations.

Fontaine et al. 2005, [11]BRFSS 2001, men ≥50OW, OBI, OBII, OBIIIOW, OBI, OBII, and OBIII were positively associated with PSA testing. OR 1.13 [1.04–1.35], OR 1.26 [1.06–1.36], 1.14 [1.02–1.06].

1Predictors: OW: Overweight, OB: Obese, OBI: Obese I, OBII: Obese II, OBIII: Obese III.

StudyPopulation/data sourceWeight categories1OutcomeFindings

Chang et al. 2010, [22]National Medicare Claims (Medicare), Veterans Health Administration (VHA), ≥65 years oldOW and OBColorectal cancer screeningThere was increased CRC screening in overweight VHA care recipients OR 1.12 .
There were no other significant associations between CRC screening and OB (VHA and Medicare) and OW Medicare beneficiaries.

Adams-Campbell et al. 2010, [33]Black Women’s Health StudyOW and OBColonoscopy in past 2 yearsThere were no significant associations between colonoscopy and OW, OB.

Leone 2009, [34]NHIS 2005, women onlyCollapsed OW and OBColorectal cancer screening colonoscopy, endoscopy, or FOBTOB was negatively associated with CRC screening in white but not black women. OR-0.66 .

Muus et al. 2009, [32]National face-to-face survey, American Indian and Alaskan native men in USA.OW, OB, OBI, OBII, OBIIIFOBTThere were no significant associations between receipt of FOBT and OW, OB (I, II, III).

Banerjea et al. 2008, [23]Medical Expenditure Survey (MEPS) 2003 and subset of NHIS (women only)OW and OBColorectal cancer screeningOW was negatively associated with CRC screening. OR 0.80 [0.66–0.97].

Mitchell et al. 2008, [24] Canadian Community Health SurveyOW, OB, OBI, OBII, OBIIIFOBTThere was no significant association between receipt of FOBT testing and OW, OB (I, II, III).

James et al. 2008, [35] Wellness for African-Americans through Churches (WATCH)OW, OB, OBI, OBII, OBIIIFOBTThere was no significant association between FOBT and OW, or OB (I, II, III) in men or women.

James et al. 2008, [35] WATCHOW, OB, OBI, OBII, OBIIIColorectal cancer screeningThere was no significant association between receipt of overall CRC screening and OW, or OB (I, II, III) in men or women.

James et al. 2008, [35]WATCHOW, OB, OBI, OBII, OBIIISigmoidoscopyThere was no significant association between receipt of sigmoidoscopy and OW, or OB (I, II, III) for men or women.

James et al. 2008, [35] WATCHOW, OB, OBI, OBII, OBIIIPast-year CRC screeningThere was no significant association between past-year CRC screening and OW, or OB (I, II, III) in women or men.

Ferrante et al. 2006, [36]Medical records of New Jersey and Pennsylvania primary care practice patients ≥50Collapsed OW and OBColorectal cancer screeningOB was negatively associated with CRC screening. OR 0.75 .

Menis et al. 2006, [37] Maryland Cancer Survey 2002, population-based random-digit dial telephone surveyOB and OWColorectal cancer screeningThere was no significant association of CRC screening with OW or OB.

Vlahov et al. 2005, [38] New York Cancer ProjectOB onlyEndoscopyThere was no significant association between obesity and endoscopy.

Heo et al. 2004, [39] Behaviorial Risk Factor Surveillance Survey (BRFSS) 2001OW, OB, OBI, OBII, OBIIIFOBTThere were no significant associations between BMI category and in men or women.

Heo et al. 2004, [39] BRFSS 2001OW, OB, OBI, OBII, OBIIISigmoidoscopyOW and OBII were positively associated with sigmoidoscopy in last 5 years in men. OR 1.25 [1.05–1.51], 1.21 [1.03–1.75].
OBI and OBII were negatively associated with sigmoidoscopy in last 5 years in women. OR 0.86 [0.78–0.94], OR 0.88 [0.79–0.99].
Rosen and Schneider 2004, [40] BRFSS 1999Morbidly OB ( )EndoscopyMorbid obesity was negatively associated with endoscopy in women only. RD − 4.9 [−7.7 to −1.9].
There was no significant association between morbid obesity and endoscopy in men.

Rosen and Schneider 2004, [40] BRFSS 1999Morbidly OB ( )FOBTMorbid obesity in women only was negatively associated with FOBT. RD − 3.7 [−7.7 to −1.9].
There was no significant association between FOBT and morbid obesity in men.

Rosen and Schneider 2004, [40]BRFSS 1999Morbidly OB ( )Colorectal cancer screeningMorbid obesity in women only was negatively associated with overall CRC screening. RD − 5.6 [−8.5 to −2.6].
There was no association between overall CRC screening and morbid obesity in men.

Seeff et al. 2004, [41] NHIS 2000OW and OBOverall CRCThere were no significant associations between receipt of CRC screening and OW or OB.

Seeff et al. 2004, [41] NHIS 2000OW and OBFOBTThere was no significant association between receipt of FOBT and OW or OB.

Seeff et al. 2004, [41] NHIS 2000OW and OBEndoscopyThere was no significant association between receipt of endoscopy and OW or OB.

Slattery et al. 2004, [42] 2 population-based case-control studies of colorectal cancer patients, interviewer-administered questionnaireOW and OBSigmoidoscopyOW and OB in women were positively associated with sigmoidoscopy (OR 1.8 and 2.3, resp., ).
There was no significant association between sigmoidoscopy and OW or OB in men.

Chao et al. 2004, [43] Cancer Prevention Study (CPS) II Nutrition Cohort 1997OW and OB, collapsed OBI and II, morbid obesity ≥40EndoscopyOBI and OBII were negatively associated with endoscopy in men. OR 0.88 [.82–.94].
OBI and OBII were negatively associated with endoscopy in women. OR 0.8 [.81–.91].
Morbid obesity in women was negatively associated with endoscopy. OR 0.71 [0.59–0.85].

1Predictors: OW: Overweight, OB: Obese, OBI: Obese I, OBII: Obese II, OBIII: Obese III.

3. Results

3.1. Cervical Cancer Screening

We identified one review of research on the relationship of obesity and cervical cancer screening [44] and three additional articles [2224]. Twelve studies examined the relationship of obesity and screening for cervical cancer, and all of these studies found an association between increased body weight and decreased utilization of Pap smears [1215, 25, 2731, 45, 46]. Of the five studies which examined the association of obesity and cervical cancer screening in white women, all reported a negative association. In black women, six studies examined obesity and cervical cancer screening. Four studies reported no association, while two studies reported a negative association between obesity and Pap smear use in black women. Of note, one of these two studies [28] utilized data from the Black Women’s Health Study which includes black women of high socioeconomic status which may be associated with different screening behavior. The other outlying study was a reanalysis of the same data set using different covariates and inclusion criteria [15, 25]. In summary, the data seems to suggest a negative association between obesity and cervical cancer screening in white women which is not present, or not as strong in black women.

3.2. Breast Cancer Screening

We identified one review of research on the relationship of obesity and breast cancer screening [44], and five additional articles [12, 2224, 29]. None of these 11 studies showed no negative association between weight and mammography use in women. In the three studies that stratified the obesity-screening relationship according to race [16, 17, 27], in one study [17] obesity was associated with decreased utilization of mammography in white women and increased utilization in their black counterparts. In black women, two of these three studies found a positive association between obesity and mammography use, while one study found no effect in black women.

3.3. Prostate Cancer Screening

Four studies examined the association between obesity and prostate cancer screening, and all used prostate-specific antigen (PSA) testing as their outcome. Three of the four studies indicated that obese men were more likely to have had a PSA test [911] when compared with their normal-weight peers. One study examined obesity and PSA testing in a cohort of men from primary care practices and found a consistent association with obesity and increased PSA testing, regardless of race [10].

3.4. Colorectal Cancer Screening

Colorectal cancer (CRC) is currently the only cancer screening recommended for both men and women, and therefore, CRC is the only screening in which the impact of gender and obesity can be directly compared [47]. Sixteen studies were identified that examined the relationship of obesity and colorectal cancer (CRC) screening [22, 24, 3243, 48, 49], but only six studies stratified the obesity-cancer screening relationship by gender [35, 36, 39, 40, 42, 43]. In men, the relationship between obesity and CRC screening was inconsistent. In men, two studies [36, 43], indicated that obesity was associated with lower CRC screening rates. One study indicated that obesity was associated with higher endoscopic CRC screening rates in men [39], and three studies indicated no association in men [35, 40, 42]. In three studies, fecal occult blood testing (FOBT) was examined independently and there was no association between FOBT use and weight in men [35, 39, 40]. In women, the relationship between obesity and CRC screening was more consistent. In women, four studies demonstrated a negative association between obesity and CRC screening [36, 39, 40, 43], and one study demonstrated higher rates of CRC screening in obese women [42], and one study showed no association [35]. One outlying study was a case-control study that identified cases from two tumor registries and may have had a selection bias towards women being more likely to screen. Four studies conducted on women reported that on endoscopy separately and in three of the four studies, obesity was negatively associated with screening [39, 40, 42, 43]. Three studies specifically reported FOBT use in women: one indicated a negative association between obesity and screening, while the other two indicated no association between obesity and FOBT use in women [35, 39, 40].These studies suggest that body weight may have a different impact on the likelihood of undergoing CRC screening in men and women. In women, the majority of the literature suggests a negative association between obesity and CRC screening, whereas in men there is little consistency in the association of obesity and CRC screening.

While many studies examine the relationship of obesity to cancer screening, we identified only two that explored the impact of race and obesity on CRC screening. In the New York Cancer Project, Vlahov et al. [38] reported that obesity did not impact CRC screening in blacks, whites, or Hispanics. These authors did not examine men and women separately. Leone et al. [34] found that obesity was associated with lower rates of CRC screening in white women but not their black counterparts. No studies were identified in the CRC screening literature which examined the relationship of obesity and screening according to both race and gender.

4. Discussion

The relationship between obesity and cancer screening is complex. The type of screening test strongly influences this relationship. In cervical cancer screening, increasing weight is consistently associated with lower rates of obtaining Pap smears. In breast cancer screening, there is a less consistent association between increased weight and decreased mammography. Conversely, prostate cancer screening, measured by PSA testing, seems to increase as weight increases. Comparing cervical, breast, and prostate cancer, men seem to behave opposite of women, suggesting that gender influences the relationship between screening and weight. However, CRC screening, the only example of cancer screening which would allow comparison by gender, does not elucidate the impact of gender. In fact, the relationship of weight status and screening in CRC is the least consistent of all the screening tests. Other variables, such as race, may be an important source of this inconsistency.

In mammography and Pap smears, race affects the relationship between screening and weight. Increased weight appears to be more of a barrier in white women in both mammography and Pap smears. In part, this may be explained by differences in perception of weight. Cancer screening is a behavioral outcome, influenced by personal factors. Women who see themselves as too heavy are more likely to feel embarrassment regarding examination [50, 51].White and black women perceive their weight differently. White women consider themselves overweight at a lower BMI, compared to black women [52, 53]. So, white women may become resistant to screening at a lower BMI. White women report body dissatisfaction at a lower BMI relative to their black counterparts [54, 55]. This may create a “dose-response” effect of obesity and screening behavior with different thresholds for different races, at least in women, which would be consistent with a similar “dose-response” effect in cancer morbidity and mortality. However, this race effect in women is not seen in men.

The association of weight status and prostate cancer is relatively unique in that there appears to be a positive association with testing as weight increases, and this effect persists when men are stratified by race. This may be explained by differences in access and utilization of health care. As weight increases, other comorbid conditions increase, so that heavier men may be higher utilizers of health care. By having more encounters with the health care system, these men are more likely to be counseled or encouraged to be tested.

CRC screening, the only screening which permits the examination of both race and gender (e.g., white men, white women, black men, and black women) should elucidate the combined and often contradictory effects of both race and gender on cancer screening. However, CRC screening reveals a confusing pattern of association between weight status and testing. CRC screening is a more complex test to study as there are several test choices, and this implicitly makes for more complicated analyses. Indeed, the literature varies in outcome reported with most studies reporting overall screening (stool testing or endoscopy) and some studies reporting these test options separately. Those studies which distinguish according to endoscopy and stool testing suggest that endoscopy, not FOBT, is more likely influenced by weight status. So, any differential effects based on race or gender may be suppressed when examining a composite variable such as overall CRC screening (endoscopy and stool blood test).

With the exception of cervical cancer screening, there is no clear, consistent pattern of association between obesity and cancer screening. There were no studies of obesity and cancer screening which examined the combined effect of race/ethnicity and gender. This is an important gap in the literature, as finding from this review suggests that screening behavior across race-gender subgroups, for example, black men, black women, white men, and white women, is likely to be very different.

Utilization and/or access to health care are important determinants of cancer screening [34, 41]. However, such factors are difficult to measure and control for in small data sets. So, smaller studies often cannot include these measures, and this is a particular problem in analyzing racial subgroups which are likely to be a small subset. Obesity is more prevalent in minority and underserved groups, who have less access to health care. Different patterns of access and utilization in weight groups are likely to confound the relationship of obesity and cancer screening, making interpretation of the literature even more challenging.

Physician recommendation is an extremely important determinant of CRC screening [5664]. However, physicians often have negative beliefs about obese patients such as the belief that the patient lacks self-control and that the patient is unlikely to make recommended behavior changes [50, 51, 65]. In addition, a patient’s obesity appears to change the quality of the office visit. Bertakis and Azari demonstrated that the qualitative content of a visit is different in obese patients compared to their normal-weight counterparts [66]. With obese patients, the visit included less educational time and focused more on technical tasks such as physical examination. This suggests that doctors may devote less time and effort in discussions such as cancer screening. Obese patients, when questioned about satisfaction with their medical care prior to a new patient visit, were less satisfied with their medical care compared to their normal-weight counterparts [66]. This suggests a preexisting dissatisfaction which could mean that obese patients arrive to the physician’s office less ready to screen. If obese patients have any particular reluctance to screen and there is less time devoted to addressing those barriers or concerns, the likely result would be lower screening. Yet Ferrante et al. found that lower rates of cancer screening persist even after controlling for physician recommendation [12] suggesting that there may be still more to the picture.

There are some obvious differences in the relationship between weight and screening in different types of screening tests. Obese women perceive their weight as a barrier to screening, and these women cite negative attitudes of providers and inappropriately sized equipment as specific concerns [26]. These concerns seem more likely to be activated in the case of cervical cancer screening.

The relationship between obesity and cervical cancer screening is consistently negative. In contrast, the relationship between obesity and prostate cancer screening is generally positive. A blood test such as PSA is relatively easy to do, whereas cervical cancer screening is invasive and includes exposure of intimate body parts to a physician with whom the patient expects to have an ongoing relationship. So, the invasiveness or embarrassment associated with testing may be important.

The data review on prostate cancer screening and colorectal cancer screening suggests that men may be more resistant to any barriers presented by obesity. In one of the studies where there is a positive relationship between obesity and screening in men, this effect was reduced when the authors controlled for hypertension and hyperlipidemia [10]. Perhaps, for men, obesity-related conditions increase access or exposure to the health care system and, therefore, obesity facilitates cancer screening in men.

5. Conclusions

Inconsistent methods may be a significant source of variation in this literature. In fact, two studies examined the same data set and found different outcomes based on such different inclusion/exclusion criteria [14, 25]. More research is needed to create a comprehensive understanding of obesity and cancer screening. Specifically, work is needed to examine obesity and cancer screening in race-gender subgroups such as white men, white women, black men, and black women, and such an analysis needs to account for the effects of the doctor-patient relationship, access to care, and type of screening test. Regardless of effect on screening, obesity is clearly associated with increased cancer morbidity and mortality. So, as obesity becomes increasingly prevalent, it becomes increasingly important to understand and eliminate barriers to screening in obese individuals.

Conflict of Interests

All authors declare that there are no competing financial interests in relation to the work described.

Acknowledgments

The authors would like to acknowledge Madeleine Turley for her help with paper preparation and to acknowledge Barbara Henry, medical librarian for her help with the literature search. This work was supported by the American Cancer Society Cancer Control Career Development Award CCCDA-08-107-01.

References

  1. American Cancer Society, Cancer Facts and Figures 2007, American Cancer Society, Atlanta, Ga, USA, 2007.
  2. E. E. Calle, C. Rodriguez, K. Walker-Thurmond, and M. J. Thun, “Overweight, obesity, and mortality from cancer in a prospectively studied cohort of U.S. Adults,” New England Journal of Medicine, vol. 348, no. 17, pp. 1625–1638, 2003. View at: Publisher Site | Google Scholar
  3. W. C. Buschemeyer III and S. J. Freedland, “Obesity and prostate cancer: epidemiology and clinical implications,” European Urology, vol. 52, no. 2, pp. 331–343, 2007. View at: Publisher Site | Google Scholar
  4. A. Nelson, “Unequal treatment: confronting racial and ethnic disparities in health care,” Journal of the National Medical Association, vol. 94, no. 8, pp. 666–668, 2002. View at: Google Scholar
  5. E. Ward, A. Jemal, V. Cokkinides et al., “Cancer disparities by race/ethnicity and socioeconomic status,” Ca-A Cancer Journal for Clinicians, vol. 54, no. 2, pp. 78–93, 2004. View at: Google Scholar
  6. American Cancer Society, Colorectal Cancer Facts and Figures 2008–2010, American Cancer Society, Atlanta, Ga, USA, 2008.
  7. C. L. Ogden, M. D. Carroll, L. R. Curtin, M. A. McDowell, C. J. Tabak, and K. M. Flegal, “Prevalence of overweight and obesity in the United States, 1999–2004,” Journal of the American Medical Association, vol. 295, no. 13, pp. 1549–1555, 2006. View at: Publisher Site | Google Scholar
  8. J. M. Gill, H. B. Fagan, B. Townsend, and A. G. Mainous, “Impact of providing a medical home to the uninsured: evaluation of a statewide program,” Journal of Health Care for the Poor and Underserved, vol. 16, no. 3, pp. 515–535, 2005. View at: Publisher Site | Google Scholar
  9. C. D. Scales Jr., L. H. Curtis, R. D. Norris, K. A. Schulman, P. Dahm, and J. W. Moul, “Relationship between body mass index and prostate cancer screening in the United States,” Journal of Urology, vol. 177, no. 2, pp. 493–498, 2007. View at: Publisher Site | Google Scholar
  10. J. H. Fowke, L. B. Signorello, W. Underwood III, F. A. M. Ukoli, and W. J. Blot, “Obesity and prostate cancer screening among African-American and Causian men,” Prostate, vol. 66, no. 13, pp. 1371–1380, 2006. View at: Publisher Site | Google Scholar
  11. K. R. Fontaine, M. Heo, and D. B. Allison, “Obesity and prostate cancer screening in the USA,” Public Health, vol. 119, no. 8, pp. 694–698, 2005. View at: Publisher Site | Google Scholar
  12. J. M. Ferrante, P. H. Chen, B. F. Crabtree, and D. Wartenberg, “Cancer screening in women. Body mass index and adherence to physician recommendations,” American Journal of Preventive Medicine, vol. 32, no. 6, pp. 525–531, 2007. View at: Publisher Site | Google Scholar
  13. J. M. Ferrante, P. H. Chen, and A. Jacobs, “Breast and cervical cancer screening in obese minority women,” Journal of Women's Health, vol. 15, no. 5, pp. 531–541, 2006. View at: Publisher Site | Google Scholar
  14. C. C. Wee, R. S. Phillips, and E. P. McCarthy, “BMI and cervical cancer screening among white, African-American, and hispanic women in the United States,” Obesity Research, vol. 13, no. 7, pp. 1275–1280, 2005. View at: Google Scholar
  15. C. C. Wee, E. P. McCarthy, R. B. Davis, and R. S. Phillips, “Screening for cervical and breast cancer: is obesity an unrecognized barrier to preventive care?” Annals of Internal Medicine, vol. 132, no. 9, pp. 697–704, 2000. View at: Google Scholar
  16. K. Zhu, H. Wu, I. Jatoi, J. Potter, and C. Shriver, “Body mass index and use of mammography screening in the United States,” Preventive Medicine, vol. 42, no. 5, pp. 381–385, 2006. View at: Publisher Site | Google Scholar
  17. C. C. Wee, E. P. McCarthy, R. B. Davis, and R. S. Phillips, “Obesity and breast cancer screening,” Journal of General Internal Medicine, vol. 19, no. 4, pp. 324–331, 2004. View at: Publisher Site | Google Scholar
  18. American Cancer Society, Cancer Prevention and Early Detection Facts and Figures 2008, American Cancer Society, Atlanta, Ga, USA, 2008.
  19. A. F. Jerant, J. J. Fenton, and P. Franks, “Determinants of racial/ethnic colorectal cancer screening disparities,” Archives of Internal Medicine, vol. 168, no. 12, pp. 1317–1324, 2008. View at: Publisher Site | Google Scholar
  20. American Cancer Society, Cancer Prevention and Early Detection Facts and Figures 2009, American Cancer Society, Atlanta, Ga, USA, 2009.
  21. American Cancer Society, Cancer Prevention and Early Detection Facts and Figures 2010, 2011.
  22. V. W. Chang, D. A. Asch, and R. M. Werner, “Quality of care among obese patients,” Journal of the American Medical Association, vol. 303, no. 13, pp. 1274–1281, 2010. View at: Publisher Site | Google Scholar
  23. R. Banerjea, P. Findley, and U. Sambamoorthi, “Disparities in preventive care by body mass index categories among women,” Women and Health, vol. 47, no. 4, pp. 1–17, 2008. View at: Publisher Site | Google Scholar
  24. R. S. Mitchell, R. S. Padwal, A. W. Chuck, and S. W. Klarenbach, “Cancer screening among the overweight and obese in Canada,” American Journal of Preventive Medicine, vol. 35, no. 2, pp. 127–132, 2008. View at: Publisher Site | Google Scholar
  25. H. Wu, K. Zhu, M. Shah, R. J. Lipnick, and T.-C. Kao, “BMI and cervical cancer screening among white, African-American, and hispanic women in the United States,” Obesity, vol. 14, no. 3, pp. 526–527, 2006. View at: Publisher Site | Google Scholar
  26. N. K. Amy, A. Aalborg, P. Lyons, and L. Keranen, “Barriers to routine gynecological cancer screening for White and African-American obese women,” International Journal of Obesity, vol. 30, no. 1, pp. 147–155, 2006. View at: Publisher Site | Google Scholar
  27. T. Østbye, D. H. Taylor Jr., W. S. Yancy Jr., and K. M. Krause, “Associations between obesity and receipt of screening mammography, papanicolaou tests, and influenza vaccination: Results from the Health and Retirement Study (HRS) and the Asset and Health Dynamics Among the Oldest Old (AHEAD) Study,” American Journal of Public Health, vol. 95, no. 9, pp. 1623–1630, 2005. View at: Publisher Site | Google Scholar
  28. G. D. Datta, G. A. Colditz, I. Kawachi, S. V. Subramanian, J. R. Palmer, and L. Rosenberg, “Individual-, neighborhood-, and state-level socioeconomic predictors of cervical carcinoma screening among U.-S. black women: a multilevel analysis,” Cancer, vol. 106, no. 3, pp. 664–669, 2006. View at: Publisher Site | Google Scholar
  29. S. S. Coughlin, R. J. Uhler, H. I. Hall, and P. A. Briss, “Nonadherence to breast and cervical cancer screening: what are the linkages to chronic disease risk?” Preventing Chronic Disease, vol. 1, no. 1, p. A04, 2004. View at: Google Scholar
  30. K. R. Fontaine, M. Heo, and D. B. Allison, “Body weight and cancer screening among women,” Journal of Women's Health and Gender-Based Medicine, vol. 10, no. 5, pp. 463–470, 2001. View at: Publisher Site | Google Scholar
  31. K. R. Fontaine, M. S. Faith, D. B. Allison, and L. J. Cheskin, “Body weight and health care among women in the general population,” Archives of Family Medicine, vol. 7, no. 4, pp. 381–384, 1998. View at: Google Scholar
  32. K. J. Muus, T. Baker-Demaray, L. R. McDonald et al., “Body mass index and cancer screening in older American Indian and Alaska Native men,” Journal of Rural Health, vol. 25, no. 1, pp. 104–108, 2009. View at: Publisher Site | Google Scholar
  33. L. L. Adams-Campbell, K. Makambi, C. P. Mouton, J. R. Palmer, and L. Rosenberg, “Colonoscopy utilization in the black women's health study,” Journal of the National Medical Association, vol. 102, no. 3, pp. 237–242, 2010. View at: Google Scholar
  34. L. A. Leone, M. K. Campbell, J. A. Satia, J. Michael Bowling, and M. P. Pignone, “Race moderates the relationship between obesity and colorectal cancer screening in women,” Cancer Causes and Control, vol. 21, no. 3, pp. 373–385, 2010. View at: Publisher Site | Google Scholar
  35. A. S. James, L. Leone, M. L. Katz, L. H. McNeill, and M. K. Campbell, “Multiple health behaviors among overweight, class i obese, and class ii obese persons,” Ethnicity and Disease, vol. 18, no. 2, pp. 157–162, 2008. View at: Google Scholar
  36. J. M. Ferrante, P. Ohman-Strickland, S. V. Hudson, K. A. Hahn, J. G. Scott, and B. F. Crabtree, “Colorectal cancer screening among obese versus non-obese patients in primary care practices,” Cancer Detection and Prevention, vol. 30, no. 5, pp. 459–465, 2006. View at: Publisher Site | Google Scholar
  37. M. Menis, B. Kozlovsky, P. Langenberg et al., “Body mass index and up-to-date colorectal cancer screening among Marylanders aged 50 years and older,” Preventing Chronic Disease, vol. 3, no. 3, p. A88, 2006. View at: Google Scholar
  38. D. Vlahov, J. Ahern, T. Vazquez et al., “Racial/ethnic differences in screening for colon cancer: report from the New York cancer project,” Ethnicity and Disease, vol. 15, no. 1, pp. 76–83, 2005. View at: Google Scholar
  39. M. Heo, D. B. Allison, and K. R. Fontaine, “Overweight, obesity, and colorectal cancer screening: disparity between men and women,” BMC Public Health, vol. 4, article 53, 2004. View at: Publisher Site | Google Scholar
  40. A. B. Rosen and E. C. Schneider, “Colorectal cancer screening disparities related to obesity and gender,” Journal of General Internal Medicine, vol. 19, no. 4, pp. 332–338, 2004. View at: Publisher Site | Google Scholar
  41. L. C. Seeff, M. R. Nadel, C. N. Klabunde et al., “Patterns and predictors of colorectal cancer test use in the adult U.S. population,” Cancer, vol. 100, no. 10, pp. 2093–2103, 2004. View at: Publisher Site | Google Scholar
  42. M. L. Slattery, A. Y. Kinney, and T. R. Levin, “Factors associated with colorectal cancer screening in a population-based study: the impact of gender, health care source, and time,” Preventive Medicine, vol. 38, no. 3, pp. 276–283, 2004. View at: Publisher Site | Google Scholar
  43. A. Chao, C. J. Connell, V. Cokkinides, E. J. Jacobs, E. E. Calle, and M. J. Thun, “Underuse of screening sigmoidoscopy and colonoscopy in a large cohort of US adults,” American Journal of Public Health, vol. 94, no. 10, pp. 1775–1781, 2004. View at: Google Scholar
  44. S. S. Cohen, R. T. Palmieri, S. J. Nyante et al., “A review: obesity and screening for breast, cervical, and colorectal cancer in women,” Cancer, vol. 112, no. 9, pp. 1892–1904, 2008. View at: Publisher Site | Google Scholar
  45. M. M. Amonkar and S. Madhavan, “Compliance rates and predictors of cancer screening recommendations among Appalachian women,” Journal of Health Care for the Poor and Underserved, vol. 13, no. 4, pp. 443–460, 2002. View at: Publisher Site | Google Scholar
  46. E. J. Simoes, C. J. Newschaffer, N. Hagdrup et al., “Predictors of compliance with recommended cervical cancer screening schedule: a population-based study,” Journal of Community Health, vol. 24, no. 2, pp. 115–130, 1999. View at: Publisher Site | Google Scholar
  47. B. Levin, D. A. Lieberman, B. McFarland et al., “Screening and surveillance for the early detection of colorectal cancer and adenomatous polyps, 2008: a joint guideline from the American Cancer Society, the US Multi-Society Task Force on Colorectal Cancer, and the American College of Radiology,” Gastroenterology, vol. 134, no. 5, pp. 1570–1595, 2008. View at: Publisher Site | Google Scholar
  48. C. C. Wee, E. P. McCarthy, and R. S. Phillips, “Factors associated with colon cancer screening: the role of patient factors and physician counseling,” Preventive Medicine, vol. 41, no. 1, pp. 23–29, 2005. View at: Publisher Site | Google Scholar
  49. M. Bazargan, C. Ani, S. Bazargan-Hejazi, R. S. Baker, and R. Bastani, “Colorectal cancer screening among underserved minority population: discrepancy between physicians' recommended, scheduled, and completed tests,” Patient Education and Counseling, vol. 76, no. 2, pp. 240–247, 2009. View at: Publisher Site | Google Scholar
  50. E. N. Zayat, K. R. Fontaine, and L. J. Cheskin, “Use of preventive health care services by patients with obesity,” Obesity Research, vol. 7, no. 2, pp. 223–226, 1999. View at: Google Scholar
  51. C. L. Olson, H. D. Schumaker, and B. P. Yawn, “Overweight women delay medical care,” Archives of Family Medicine, vol. 3, no. 10, pp. 888–892, 1994. View at: Google Scholar
  52. S. C. Larsson and A. Wolk, “Obesity and colon and rectal cancer risk: a meta-analysis of prospective studies,” American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, vol. 86, no. 3, pp. 556–565, 2007. View at: Google Scholar
  53. A. A. Moghaddam, M. Woodward, and R. Huxley, “Obesity and risk of colorectal cancer: a meta-analysis of 31 studies with 70,000 events,” Cancer Epidemiology Biomarkers and Prevention, vol. 16, no. 12, pp. 2533–2547, 2007. View at: Publisher Site | Google Scholar
  54. L. A. Anderson, A. A. Eyler, D. A. Galuska, D. R. Brown, and R. C. Brownson, “Relationship of satisfaction with body size and trying to lose weight in a national survey of overweight and obese women aged 40 and older, United States,” Preventive Medicine, vol. 35, no. 4, pp. 390–396, 2002. View at: Publisher Site | Google Scholar
  55. M. L. Fitzgibbon, L. R. Blackman, and M. E. Avellone, “The relationship between body image discrepancy and body mass index across ethnic groups,” Obesity Research, vol. 8, no. 8, pp. 582–589, 2000. View at: Google Scholar
  56. J. S. Haas, G. Fitzmaurice, P. Brawarsky et al., “Association of regional variation in primary care physicians' colorectal cancer screening recommendations with individual use of colorectal cancer screening,” Preventing Chronic Disease, vol. 4, no. 4, p. A90, 2007. View at: Google Scholar
  57. C. H. Brouse, R. L. Wolf, and C. E. Basch, “Facilitating factors for colorectal cancer screening,” Journal of Cancer Education, vol. 23, no. 1, pp. 26–31, 2008. View at: Publisher Site | Google Scholar
  58. I. T. Zajac, A. H. Whibley, S. R. Cole et al., “Endorsement by the primary care practitioner consistently improves participation in screening for colorectal cancer: a longitudinal analysis,” Journal of Medical Screening, vol. 17, no. 1, pp. 19–24, 2010. View at: Publisher Site | Google Scholar
  59. S. S. Coughlin and T. Thompson, “Physician recommendation for colorectal cancer screening by race, ethnicity, and health insurance status among men and women in the United States, 2000,” Health Promotion Practice, vol. 6, no. 4, pp. 369–378, 2005. View at: Google Scholar
  60. P. Brawarsky, D. R. Brooks, L. A. Mucci, and P. A. Wood, “Effect of physician recommendation and patient adherence on rates of colorectal cancer testing,” Cancer Detection and Prevention, vol. 28, no. 4, pp. 260–268, 2004. View at: Publisher Site | Google Scholar
  61. S. A. Fox, P. J. Murata, and J. A. Stein, “The impact of physician compliance on screening mammography for older women,” Archives of Internal Medicine, vol. 151, no. 1, pp. 50–56, 1991. View at: Publisher Site | Google Scholar
  62. K. E. Grady, J. P. Lemkau, J. M. McVay, and S. T. Reisine, “The importance of physician encouragement in breast cancer screening of older women,” Preventive Medicine, vol. 21, no. 6, pp. 766–780, 1992. View at: Publisher Site | Google Scholar
  63. R. R. Love, R. L. Brown, J. E. Davis, L. J. Baumann, S. A. Fontana, and L. A. Sanner, “Frequency and determinants of screening for breast cancer in primary care group practice,” Archives of Internal Medicine, vol. 153, no. 18, pp. 2113–2117, 1993. View at: Publisher Site | Google Scholar
  64. D. S. May, C. I. Kiefe, E. Funkhouser, and M. N. Fouad, “Compliance with mammography guidelines: physician recommendation and patient adherence,” Preventive Medicine, vol. 28, no. 4, pp. 386–394, 1999. View at: Publisher Site | Google Scholar
  65. J. H. Price, S. M. Desmond, R. A. Krol, F. F. Snyder, and J. K. O'Connell, “Family practice physicians' beliefs, attitudes, and practices regarding obesity,” American Journal of Preventive Medicine, vol. 3, no. 6, pp. 339–345, 1987. View at: Google Scholar
  66. K. D. Bertakis and R. Azari, “The impact of obesity on primary care visits,” Obesity Research, vol. 13, no. 9, pp. 1615–1623, 2005. View at: Google Scholar

Copyright © 2011 Heather Bittner Fagan et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


More related articles

 PDF Download Citation Citation
 Download other formatsMore
 Order printed copiesOrder
Views2005
Downloads1060
Citations

Related articles

Article of the Year Award: Outstanding research contributions of 2020, as selected by our Chief Editors. Read the winning articles.