Obesity appears to be associated with higher rates of prostate cancer screening across all races and ethnicities, recent study findings indicate.
"Numerous studies have suggested that obesity constitutes an obstacle to cancer screening, but a deeper examination also considering the role of race/ethnicity and gender in the equation has not been done before," said lead author Heather Bittner Fagan, MD, MPH, of Thomas Jefferson University, Philadelphia, and Christiana Care Health System, Wilmington, DE. "A greater understanding of the relationship between cancer screening and obesity, race/ethnicity and gender can also help explain the association between obesity and increased cancer mortality."
Prostate cancer screening levels were consistently shown to increase with weight. In three of four studies, obese men were more likely to receive a PSA test for prostate cancer screening than their normal-weight peers. This unique finding seems to remain across race/ethnicity differences.
"This could be explained by differences in access and utilization of health care; as weight increases, so do other co-morbid conditions, making heavier men higher users of health care and perhaps more encouraged to be tested by their health care provider," said co-author Richard Wender, MD, of Thomas Jefferson University.
"Screening behaviors can vary by ethnicity/race and gender, but more research is needed to create a comprehensive understanding of obesity and cancer screening in race-gender subgroups," Drs. Fagan and Wender said.
Results from the study were published online in the Journal of Obesity (Dec. 15, 2011).
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