Uterine leiomyomata (UL) have a substantial impact on women’s health, but relatively few studies have identified opportunities for primary prevention of these neoplasms. Most established risk factors are not modifiable, including premenopausal age, African ancestry, age at menarche, and childbearing history. The main challenge in studying UL is that a large proportion of tumors are asymptomatic. Herein, we review the epidemiology of UL from published studies to date. We highlight the advantages of ultrasound screening studies and the ways in which their innovative methods have helped clarify the etiology of disease. We conclude with a discussion of promising new hypotheses.
*Department of Epidemiology, Boston University School of Public Health
†Slone Epidemiology Center at Boston University, Boston, Massachusetts
‡Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota
The authors declare that they have nothing to disclose.
Correspondence: Lauren A. Wise, MSc, ScD, Department of Epidemiology, Boston University School of Public Health, 715 Albany St., Boston, MA 02118. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org