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Obesity Impedes Detection of Cervical Precancer, Increasing Cancer Risk

Jason Harris
Published: Wednesday, Jan 24, 2018

Megan Clarke, PhD

Megan Clarke, PhD
Women with a body mass ≥30 kg/m2 had a greater 5-year risk for cervical cancer than lighter women, possibly due to underdiagnosis of cervical precancer.

“To our knowledge, ours is the first study to evaluate the influence of BMI on the efficacy of cervical cancer screening in a large, routinely screened population of women,” investigators wrote. “This study has implications regardless of whether the screening program uses cytology, HPV testing, or both. By evaluating the joint distribution of baseline cotest results by worst diagnosis and BMI, we found that reduced sensitivity of both HPV and cytology testing may contribute to underdiagnosis of precancer in overweight and obese women.”
Clarke MA, Fetterman B, Cheung LC, et al. Epidemiologic evidence that excess body weight increases risk of cervical cancer by decreased detection of precancer [published online January 22, 2018]. J Clin Oncol. doi: 10.1200/jco.2017.75.3442.

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