A new study published in the American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology estimates that uterine fibroid tumors cost the United States as much as $34.4 billion each year in direct and indirect costs. The government-funded analysis ranks fibroid tumors’ annual societal costs higher than breast cancer, colon cancer or ovarian cancer, and at nearly one-fifth of the annual cost of diabetes. Uterine fibroid tumors – noncancerous growths of the uterus – affect about 70% of white women and 80% of black women by age 50. While direct costs such as surgery, outpatient visits and medications totaled up to $9.4 billion, according to the study, indirect costs due to uterine fibroids included up to $17.2 billion in lost work time and up to $7.8 billion in obstetric complications, such as spontaneous abortions, preterm deliveries and cesarean deliveries. The authors conclude that their findings point to the need for development of new effective treatments for fibroid tumors.