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vol 11 issue 13
08/2005

Health Notes

UTERINE FIBROIDS AND AFRICAN AMERICAN WOMEN

The National Medical Association (NMA) reports that uterine fibroids are a serious concern for African American women and their physicians. Uterine fibroids are benign growths within the wall of the uterus. Recognized as the most common solid pelvic tumor in women, fibroids can range in size from less than an inch to more than eight inches in diameter.

Dr. Cyril Span, chair of the Obstetrics and Gynecology Section of NMA says, “They are not cancerous, but – left untreated – symptomatic fibroids can cause debilitating pain can be associated with infertility.” The current standard of treatment is to have an invasive hysterectomy which will remove fibroids permanently; however, women who desire future fertility may not want to choose this option. There are other less invasive procedures that may preserve fertility but fibroids tend to return.

So far the NMA specialists say the following about uterine fibroids:

* Uterine fibroids are a serious health concern among African American women. (95%)

* Patients are unaware of signs, symptoms, and treatments. There is great need for awareness and education. (79%)

* Among patients, the ability to preserve fertility is important. (98%)

* Among patients, the ability to preserve the uterus is important. (98%)

* The greatest barrier to African American women receiving treatment is lack of uterine fibroids and symptoms, tendency to dismiss pelvic pain and heavy bleeding as “normal.”

* More research needs to be done to understand why uterine fibroids disproportionately affect African-American women. (95%)

For more information about uterine fibroids ask your physician about various treatment options.

Source: National Medical Association News. Fall 2004.

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