Newsletter The Women’s Health Activist® is a bimonthly publication of the National Women’s Health Network. We’d like to hear from you. Please e-mail questions or comments to email@example.com.
We’re very excited to share with our readers this month’s cover story, which is an inspiring account of how a group of women have been able to make change in the health care system. We invited the Mautner Project for Lesbians to submit this article because we want to support their efforts to improve health care for lesbians, and we want others to learn from the Project’s successes.
From Integrity in Science Watch
By Catherine DeLorey, Dr.PH.
By Jacqueline Horwitz and Judy Kaplan
We believe that hypothyroidism should be added to the women’s health advocacy agenda. A very common medical condition, hypothyroidism is often undiagnosed and, when diagnosed, is often undertreated. Both lack of treatment and inadequate treatment result in unnecessary suffering and disability for millions of individuals, most of whom are female.1
By Adriane Fugh-Berman, M.D.
The exodus from menopausal hormone therapy after the Women’s Health Initiative (WHI) proved that the risks of this therapy outweighed its benefits has resulted in a stunning drop in breast cancer rates. A new study shows that, in 2003, the year after the estrogen-progestin arm of the WHI was stopped, breast cancer rates plummeted by seven percent1. It was expected that about 200,000 women would develop breast cancer in 2003, so about 14,000 fewer women were diagnosed with the disease than expected.
It’s time to work for health care for all.
We have a new Congress and, even more importantly, new enthusiasm in Congress for making things happen that improve people’s lives. After two years of doing very little, the new Congressional leadership tells us that they’re ready to get to work. We know they’ll eventually be distracted by the 2008 Presidential race, and legislating will take a back seat to campaigning. We probably have about a year to make things happen.
By Amy Allina
By April Ruffin
By Cynthia Pearson
Sometimes the work of women’s health activists is easy. We discover that a new procedure or service can help improve women’s health; we advocate for all women to have access to it; we do everything we can to ensure that it is provided in a high-quality way; and then we celebrate the gains made. Sometimes it’s more complicated, though, and the case of mammography screening for breast cancer is a painful example of a complicated women’s health issue.
By Kristen Suthers, Ph.D.
By Jocelyn Fitzgerald
By Adriane Fugh-Burman, M.D.
For decades, women have been told that menopause increases their risk of cardiovascular disease. It has never been true. There is no increase in either diagnosis of cardiovascular disease or heart disease deaths at menopause, nor is there a sharp increase in risk for cardiovascular disease that is related to menopause. Heart disease does become more common as women get older—as it does with men. In other words, aging increases the risk of cardiovascular disease in both men and women, but menopause has nothing to do with it.
Sometimes it’s easy for NWHN to develop its analysis of new women’s health technology. Our approach to this task is powerful; we look at the science underpinning something new and ask: does it work? What are the risks? What’s missing in the scientific information: what don’t we know? Were certain groups of women left out of the research process? The approval process?
By Electra Kaczorowski
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) has issued new guidelines on how to treat adolescents who receive abnormal results from their Pap tests. (The Pap test identifies cervical abnormalities, called "intraepithelial neoplasia", which might indicate the presence of cancer.) ACOGâ€™s new guidelines stress going slowly and avoiding invasive treatment for most teens.
By Electra Kaczorowski
by Presha Rajbhandari
By Cynthia Choi
by Adriane Fugh-Berman, M.D.
Smokers consider so-called light cigarettes to be safer than regular cigarettes. But choosing “lights” isn’t a healthier choice at all.
By Susan Schewel, CRNP, Ph.D.