Posted by: Ophelia | April 1, 2008

Drive by tale of interest

Obesity May Keep Some Women From Getting Screened For Breast, Cervical Cancer

While there is increasing evidence that obesity raises the risk for certain cancers, obesity is apparently a factor in whether or not women go for screening tests. The text of the article refers specifically to white women, noting that there was no similar study of black women–but says that their weight has no affect on their testing rates.

“Our review doesn’t tell us why larger women are not getting screened as frequently for these cancers,” Cohen said. “It only reveals the trend. We think this pattern should be studied more thoroughly. And in the meantime, some additional effort should be made to reach women at increased risk of cancer because of their body size and encourage them to get screenings that could save their lives.”

I’d place my bet on fat shaming as the reason. Every time I went to my general practitioner, I’d get a speech about my weight–despite the fact that it wasn’t fluctuating, I was eating normally, and my blood pressure was fine. I was getting lectured for having the audacity to be fat and need a vaccination shot or a yearly check up. I’ve seen study results that suggest that non white women tend to have better body image. Speaking in generalities, this would mean that their weight may not factor as heavily into their body image, and furthermore that fear of embarrassment due to body size may not factor into medical decisions. Although these are generalities, it’s interesting that the article does not even consider variant ideas about body image and attractiveness, or even embarrassment as causes of the disconnect between black women and white women as well as women who most need the screenings not going for them.

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