Breast and cervical cancer screening in obese minority women

J Womens Health (Larchmt). 2006 Jun;15(5):531-41. doi: 10.1089/jwh.2006.15.531.


Purpose: Studies using survey data from mostly white women showed that obese women are less likely than nonobese women to undergo breast and cervical cancer screening. It is unclear if these findings are true in nonwhite women. Using chart audit data, we examined the relationship between obesity and mammography and Pap smear screening among minority women.

Methods: Data from retrospective chart review of women in three urban New Jersey academic family medicine practices were analyzed (n = 1809) using hierarchical logistic regression models. Outcome measures were being up-to-date in mammography and Pap smears among obese and nonobese women.

Results: There was no difference in mammography rates among obese and nonobese women. Independent risk factors for not being up-to-date in mammography included age 40-49, smoking, and comorbidity. Obese women were less likely than nonobese women to be upto- date in Pap smears (69% vs. 77%, p = 0.001). In multivariate analysis, obesity was associated with 25% decreased odds of being up-to-date on Pap smears (OR, 0.75, 95% CI, 0.58-0.99, p = 0.041). Age >or=65 years was also associated with decreased odds of being up-to-date in Pap smears. Hispanic women had increased odds of being up-to-date in mammography (OR 2.43, 95% CI 1.63-3.63) and Pap smears (OR 1.94, 95% CI 1.24-3.03) compared with white women.

Conclusions: Obesity was associated with decreased Pap smear screening but not with decreased mammography. Further studies are needed to determine barriers and effective interventions to improve screening in obese minority women.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Breast Neoplasms / diagnosis
  • Breast Neoplasms / epidemiology
  • Breast Neoplasms / prevention & control*
  • Breast Self-Examination / statistics & numerical data
  • Comorbidity
  • Confidence Intervals
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Early Diagnosis
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Mammography / statistics & numerical data
  • Mass Screening / statistics & numerical data*
  • Middle Aged
  • Minority Groups*
  • New Jersey / epidemiology
  • Obesity / epidemiology*
  • Odds Ratio
  • Papanicolaou Test
  • Patient Acceptance of Health Care / statistics & numerical data
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Urban Population / statistics & numerical data
  • Uterine Cervical Neoplasms / diagnosis
  • Uterine Cervical Neoplasms / epidemiology
  • Uterine Cervical Neoplasms / prevention & control*
  • Vaginal Smears / statistics & numerical data
  • Women's Health Services / organization & administration
  • Women's Health*