A review of 32 studies on breast, cervical and bowel cancer screening found that breast screening uptake was lower among obese white women than those with a healthy weight.
Similarly, the number of women attending smear tests for cervical cancer decreased as body mass index increased.
However, the same trends were not observed in black women or for bowel cancer screening.
Sarah Cohen, lead author of the study at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, said that there is mounting evidence to suggest that obesity increases the risk of certain cancers.
"It's a disturbing trend, then, to see that women who are at increased risk of cancer because of their body size are less likely to be receiving screening tests that can detect cancer early, when it is treatable," she pointed out.
The expert suggested that efforts should be made to encourage overweight women to attend health screenings, which can help to catch the disease in its early stages and increase the likelihood of successful cancer treatment.