WOMEN'S HEALTH WATCH
Mastectomies on the Rise
More women may be moving towarda mastectomy because of new techniquesfor detecting breast cancer. Researchersattribute the shift to the useof magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)that is able to detect more possible cancerousgrowth, compared with mammography.The use of MRI scans beganincreasing around 2003.
The study looked at >5400 womenwho had the surgery at the Mayo Clinicfrom 1997 to 2006. The women whochose mastectomy over lumpectomydropped to 30% in 2003 from 45% in1997. The rate rose, however, in 2006to 43%. The findings, presented atthe May 2008 annual meeting of theAmerican Society of Clinical Oncology,found that, among women havingbreast surgery from 2003 to 2006, 52%who had an MRI prior to the operationchose mastectomy, compared with38% of the women who did not havethe test, according to a study authorMatthew P. Goetz, MD.
The researchers noted that the mastectomyrate rose after 2003 evenamong patients who had not had anMRI. Dr. Goetz said that other factorsinvolved in the increase may includeimproved techniques for breast reconstructionand genetic testing to identifywomen likely to have a recurrence.
Race Does Not Affect Incontinence
Black women are less prone thanwhite women to have bladder controlproblems. When they do, however, thecondition tends to be worse.
The study included 1922 black womenand 892 white women from 3 Michigancounties who were surveyed overthe phone. The researchers found thaturinary incontinence was approximatelyhalf as common among black women,compared with white women. The resultsshowed that black women hadworse symptoms, reporting greateramounts of urine leakage attributed tourge incontinence. White women moreoften had stress incontinence, however.The findings were reported recently inThe Journal of Urology.
Vitamin D Deficiency,Back Pain Linked
Women aged 65 and older may be at risk for back painif they do not get enough vitamin D, according to researchpublished in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society(May 2008).
To investigate the relationship between vitamin D deficiencyand its association with a number of health problems,the researchers looked at the blood levels of vitaminD in 958 individuals. The study group included 58% of thewomen and 27% of the men who had atleast some moderatepain in at least one region of the body.
The results indicated no relationship between vitamin Dlevels and pain in men. Women with vitamin D deficiency,however, were almost twice as likely to have back painthat was moderate or worse, but vitamin D status was notassociated with pain in other parts of the body.
Quit Smoking,Live Longer
New research gives women another reason to quit smoking.The findings, reported in the Journal of the American MedicalAssociation (May 7, 2008), indicated that women who stop smokinghave a 21% lower risk of dying from coronary heart diseasewithin 5 years of putting out their last butt.
The data are a continued follow-up on the Nurses? Health Study.The research showed that current smokers had almost 3 timesthe risk of overall mortality, compared with women who neversmoked. Women who began smoking earlier in life faced greaterrisk of death from respiratory disease and from any smoking-relateddisease.
A smoker?s risk of dying returned to the level of a nonsmoker 20years after quitting. The overall risk dropped 13% within the first 5years of quitting. A majority of the excess risk of dying from coronaryheart disease disappeared with 5 years of abstaining.
Leisure Activities May Keep Depression at Bay
A survey of 1501 women found thatleisure-time activity weekly may stave offdepression. Of the participants, 30% haddepression symptoms. The amount of exercisewomen got (eg, on the job, doinghousework) did not affect their mood.Some social factors did, however.
Women who were discouraged fromexercising were more prone to depression,compared with women who exercisedwith a family member. The participantswho reported at least 3.5 hoursa week of leisure-time activity were lessprone to depression, and vigorous activityappeared to have a more powerful effect.
The women who reported being persuadedagainst exercising were morelikely to be depressed. The depressionrisk was even greater with the frequencythe women were discouragedfrom exercising, reported the researchersin the online May 6, 2008, issue ofthe International Journal of BehavioralNutrition and Physical Activity.
F A S T F A C T : A baby girl born in the United States in 2004 could expect to live 80.4 years.