Study Finds Fibroid Growth Differences Between Black, White Women
Fibroid growth in women over age 35 declines with age for white women, but not for black women, which might explain why black women typically have more symptoms than white women, according to a study published in the December issue of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Reuters Health reports.
Fibroids -- usually benign growths in the walls of the uterus that can grow to be quite large and cause heavy menstrual periods, pelvic pain and other symptoms -- occur in about 25% of all women and are the leading cause of hysterectomy in the U.S., according to Reuters Health. Researcher Donna Baird of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences and colleagues conducted the Fibroid Growth Study, in which they examined fibroid growth in 38 black and 34 white women ages 24 to 54. The researchers measured the fibroids using an MRI four times over a 12-month period.
According to the study findings, age and race both influenced the growth rate of the fibroids. The number of fibroids also affected the growth rate. Researchers suggested that "it may be possible to extend the follow-up time for assessment of fibroid growth" beyond the current practice of evaluation at six-month intervals. They added that if "further research supports our findings that tumor growth rates decline in white women as they age, those approaching perimenopause might choose to delay treatment and wait for menopause when tumors are likely to shrink" (Reuters Health, 12/1).
An abstract of the study is available online.