African American Women with ovarian cancer — can obesity mask early symptoms?


New Rochelle, NY, April 28, 2016 — African American women with ovarian cancer are more likely to die from the disease than are White women and they are also much more likely to be obese. These factors may be linked by the new finding that excess abdominal fat in overweight and obese women could interfere with the detection of early symptoms of ovarian cancer, as presented in a study published in Journal of Women's Health, a peer-reviewed publication from Mary Ann Liebert, Inc., publishers. The article is available free on the Journal of Women's Health website until May 28, 2016.

Women with higher body mass index (BMI) scores had symptoms of ovarian cancer for a longer period of time before diagnosis, report Chioma Erondu, MD and coauthors from Duke University School of Medicine and Duke University Medical Center (Durham, NC), Medical University of South Carolina (Charleston, SC), Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey (New Brunswick), Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine (Cleveland, OH), Baylor College of Medicine (Houston, TX), Wayne State University School of Medicine (Detroit, MI), University of Alabama at Birmingham, Louisiana State University School of Public Health (New Orleans), University of Virginia (Charlottesville), and University of Tennessee-Knoxville in the article entitled " The Association between Body Mass Index and Presenting Symptoms in African American Women with Ovarian Cancer."

No effective screening method exists for ovarian cancer, and most cases are detected after a woman experiences one or more symptoms, usually pelvic or abdominal discomfort, irregular bowel function, or bloating. In this study, about 60% of the women were obese (BMI >30) and 94% reported at least one symptom during the year prior to diagnosis. Women with the highest BMI scores experienced most symptoms more frequently and for longer duration than did women with lower scores.

"This important finding could impact the existing racial disparity in death associated with ovarian cancer by making physicians aware of the need to be especially vigilant for symptoms in obese women that might otherwise go undetected," says Susan G. Kornstein, MD, Editor-in-Chief of Journal of Women's Health, Executive Director of the Virginia Commonwealth University Institute for Women's Health, Richmond, VA, and President of the Academy of Women's Health.


About the Journal

Journal of Women's Health, published monthly, is a core multidisciplinary journal dedicated to the diseases and conditions that hold greater risk for or are more prevalent among women, as well as diseases that present differently in women. Led by Editor-in-Chief Susan G. Kornstein, MD, Executive Director of the Virginia Commonwealth University Institute for Women's Health, Richmond, VA, and President of the Academy of Women's Health, the Journal covers the latest advances and clinical applications of new diagnostic procedures and therapeutic protocols for the prevention and management of women's healthcare issues. Complete tables of content and a sample issue may be viewed on the Journal of Women's Health) website. Journal of Women's Health is the official journal of the Academy of Women's Health and the Society for Women's Health Research.

About the Academy

Academy of Women's Health is an interdisciplinary, international association of physicians, nurses, and other health professionals who work across the broad field of women's health, providing its members with up-to-date advances and options in clinical care that will enable the best outcomes for their women patients. The Academy's focus includes the dissemination of translational research and evidence-based practices for disease prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of women across the lifespan.

About the Publisher

Mary Ann Liebert, Inc., publishers is a privately held, fully integrated media company known for establishing authoritative peer-reviewed journals in many promising areas of science and biomedical research, including LGBT Health, Transgender Health, Population Health Management, and Breastfeeding Medicine. Its biotechnology trade magazine, GEN (Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News), was the first in its field and is today the industry's most widely read publication worldwide. A complete list of the firm's 80 journals, books, and newsmagazines is available on the Mary Ann Liebert, Inc., publishers website.

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