Abstracting height and weight from medical records, and breast cancer pathologic factors

Cancer Causes Control. 2008 Dec;19(10):1217-26. doi: 10.1007/s10552-008-9192-z. Epub 2008 Jul 10.


Cancer registries routinely collect data on clinicopathologic factors, but rarely abstract anthropometric variables. We conducted a chart review study, examining the feasibility of abstracting weight, height, alcohol use, and smoking from medical records in women (n = 1,974) diagnosed with invasive breast cancer, and investigated the association between the abstracted variables with clinicopathologic features. Qualitative data were reviewed and categorized. Frequencies of the abstracted data, and demographic and clinicopathologic variables were calculated. Logistic regression models measured the relationship between the outcome variables, tumor size, stage of disease, and estrogen/progesterone (ER/PR) status with the abstracted variables. Data on current alcohol-use/no-use, current-smoker/non-smoker, and height/weight data were obtained on 96%, 97%, and 88-89% of the participants, respectively. The multivariate analysis showed that overweight (>or=25 kg/m(2)) women had significantly larger (>or=2 cm) tumor size compared with normal weight for both women <50 years (OR = 1.79; 95% CI = 1.14-2.81; p <or= 0.05) and for women >or=50 years at diagnosis (OR = 1.58; 95% CI = 1.19-2.09; p <or= 0.05). These results suggest that abstracting current height and weight via medical records is feasible, and at minimum, current alcohol use and smoking status can be ascertained. In addition, being overweight was significantly associated with cancer clinicopathologic/prognostic factors, which has implications for monitoring etiologic factors that could be associated with cancer trends, incidence, and survival. Therefore routine collection of height and weight via cancer registries should be explored further.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Age Distribution
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Alcohol Drinking
  • Body Height*
  • Body Mass Index
  • Body Weight*
  • Breast Neoplasms / classification*
  • Breast Neoplasms / diagnosis
  • Breast Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Confidence Intervals
  • Feasibility Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Logistic Models
  • Medical Records*
  • Middle Aged
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Neoplasm Invasiveness / pathology
  • Obesity / complications
  • Odds Ratio
  • Population Surveillance
  • Receptors, Estrogen / metabolism
  • Receptors, Progesterone / metabolism
  • Registries / statistics & numerical data
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Smoking
  • Tumor Burden
  • Young Adult


  • Receptors, Estrogen
  • Receptors, Progesterone