Women's Health Watch

Pharmacy Times
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Mastectomy Preferred for Breast Cancer Recurrence

Mastectomy remains the best optionfor women when breast cancer returnsafter a lumpectomy, reported researchersin the October 2008 issue of theAmerican Journal of Surgery. The findingsindicated that the survival rates arebetter with breast removal.

The study involved 747 women whohad a same?breast cancer recurrenceafter undergoing breast conservationtherapy. Of the women, 24% underwenta second lumpectomy. The survival rateafter 5 years was 67% for women whohad a lumpectomy, compared with 78%for those who had a mastectomy. Ananalysis verified that lumpectomy loweredsurvival odds by 50%.

"We were surprised to find that somany women in our study?almost aquarter of them?had received anotherlumpectomy rather than a mastectomy,"said researcher Steven L. Chen,MD. "It's likely," he added, "that patientsare asking for lumpectomies when theircancer is diagnosed a second time, andtheir doctors are simply complying withthat request."

Muscle Strengthening Reduces Knee Injury

Good news for women who play sports. A newly designed programof strengthening exercise may help guard against anteriorcruciate ligament (ACL) injuries that bench many athletes.

Whereas other strengthening and flexibility programs havereduced injuries to the ACL, oftentimes they require specialequipment. For the current study, the researchers wanteda program that could be easily integrated into regular teampractices. The study involved 61 women's soccer teams in theNational Collegiate Athletic Association and >1400 athletes.

Some of the teams used the new program and a control groupfollowed their usual routine. The new program took only about20 minutes 3 times a week and resulted in a 41% decrease inreported ACL injuries. The findings were recently published inThe American Journal of Sports Medicine.

Does Pregnancy Depression Lead to Preterm Delivery?

A new study reported in the October 23, 2008, issue of HumanReproduction found a link between pregnancy depression andpreterm delivery.

For the study, the researchers screened women for depressionabout 10 weeks into their pregnancies. More than 40%reported having major depressive symptoms, and half of thosewomen reported having severe depressive symptoms. A totalof 791 women completed the screening and delivered a livebaby. Women with major depressive symptoms were nearly 2times as likely to deliver a preterm baby (before 37 weeks ofgestation).

The researchers hypothesized that depression during pregnancymight interfere with placental hormones that help maintain ahealthy pregnancy and ensure labor does not happen too soon.

F A S T F A C T: In 2005, nearly 12.7 millionwomen aged 18 years and older reported using an illicit drug within the past year.

Chronic Pain Therapy: Women Fare Better

A Mayo Clinic study found that women seem to respond betterto chronic pain treatment, compared with men. Men whosmoke also appear to show less improvement after therapy,according to research recently presented at the AmericanSociety of Anesthesiologists annual meeting.

The study included >1200 men and women admitted to a3-week outpatient pain treatment program. The program's goalwas to restore physical functionality and reduce or eliminateuse of medications for chronic pain. Previous studies haveindicated that smokers typically do not benefit as much as nonsmokersfrom pain management, mainly because their physicalhealth is subpar going into the program.

Lead researcher W. Michael Hooten, MD, also attributed menshowing poor improvement in a pain management program towork activities and/or other societal factors. He recommendedfurther research should focus on finding treatment options thatcould help men who smoked.

Women Baby Boomers Killing Themselves

The suicide rate among middle-aged white women is increasing.The rate declined, however, for blacks and remained stablefor Asians and Native Americans.

Using the Web-based Injury Statistics Query and ReportingSystem, the researchers found that from 1999 to 2005 theoverall suicide rate in the United States increased 0.7%. Amongmiddle-aged white women, however, the annual increase was3.9%, compared with 2.7% for middle-aged white men. Onepossible explanation the researchers offered is that physiciansmay not be paying enough attention to the mental health oftheir middle-aged white patients to notice the risk of suicide.The findings were reported online October 21, 2008, in theAmerican Journal of Preventive Medicine.

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