The researchers examined a population of 2300 patients, including 1250 men and 1050 women. Overall, their findings reveal that increasing BMI is associated with higher risk of significant colorectal neoplasia. This effect was shown to be statistically significant in women but not men.
The researchers divided the women into several groups based on BMI and evaluated whether their screening tests detected large polyps or multiple polyps, high grade dysplasia (a precancerous change in the colon) or cancer. Women who had a BMI of 40 (considered obese) or more were 5.2 times as likely to have significant colonic neoplasia detected during colonoscopy as women with a BMI of 25 or less (considered healthy weight) while controlling for smoking, age, alcohol use and family history of colorectal cancer.
Explaining the disparity in the findings between men and women, Joseph C. Anderson, M.D., one of the Stony Brook investigators, said, "We use body mass index as a surrogate measure for body fat. It may be that for men and women with similar BMI, women have less muscle than men. This needs to be explored further." According to Dr. Anderson, the implications of this study are important for physicians counseling overweight and obese women about colorectal cancer screening in light of their increased risk.
The ACG was formed in 1932 to advance the scientific study and medical treatment of disorders of the gastrointestinal (GI) tract. The College promotes the highest standards in medical education and is guided by its commitment to meeting the needs of clinical gastroenterology practitioners. Consumers can get more information on GI diseases through the following ACG-sponsored programs: