The association between body mass index and presenting symptoms in African American women with ovarian cancer

Academic Article

Abstract

  • © Mary Ann Liebert, Inc. 2016. Background: Ovarian cancer, the most lethal gynecologic malignancy, typically comes to clinical attention due to nonspecific gastrointestinal or pelvic symptoms. African Americans with ovarian cancer have a greater mortality burden than whites and are also much more likely to be obese. The objective of this study is to explore whether the presentation and duration of symptoms differ by body mass index (BMI) in African Americans with ovarian cancer. Methods: We conducted a case-only analysis using data from a multicenter population-based study of invasive epithelial ovarian cancer in African American women. Information on risk factors and symptoms leading to diagnosis was obtained in a telephone interview. Frequency and duration of symptoms by BMI categories were compared using logistic regression and linear regression analyses. Results: Of the 326 women, ∼60% was obese (BMI ≥30), with 30.8% having a BMI ≥35 kg/m2. Ninety-four percent of women reported ≥1 symptom during the year before diagnosis. We observed differences in frequency of symptoms by BMI categories, with most being reported more frequently by the heaviest women. The reported duration of symptoms was longer in women with higher BMI, with statistically significant trend tests for 6 of the 10 symptoms evaluated. Conclusion: BMI appears to impact ovarian cancer symptomatology. Women with higher BMI report having symptoms for a longer period of time before diagnosis of ovarian cancer. Healthcare providers should be vigilant and consider ovarian cancer in the differential diagnosis for obese women presenting with abdominal and pelvic symptoms.
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    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Erondu CO; Alberg AJ; Bandera EV; Barnholtz-Sloan J; Bondy M; Cote ML; Funkhouser E; Peters E; Schwartz AG; Terry PD
  • Start Page

  • 571
  • End Page

  • 578
  • Volume

  • 25
  • Issue

  • 6