The Society for Women's Health Research has declared its top five women's health stories of 2007.
The stories cover advancements of particular interest to women and new sex-specific treatments. The list of stories is as follows:
1. First consensus on ovarian cancer symptoms - In June, the Gynecologic Cancer Foundation (GCF) declared the first national consensus on ovarian cancer symptoms. This type of cancer has been long considered a silent killer because of the perceived lack of warning signs.
There is a 90 percent cure rate when women are diagnosed in Stage I of the disease. The announcement and promotion of the consensus statement should lead to earlier diagnosis and earlier intervention for many women.
2. Technology advances aid fight against breast cancer - In February, the FDA approved a molecular test that determines the likelihood of breast cancer returning within five to 10 years after a woman's initial cancer.
In August, research was published noting that magnetic resonance imaging enables radiologists to better identify tumours missed by mammography and ultrasound in women at high-risk for breast cancer.
These developments underscore the growing role advanced medical technology is playing in the fight against breast cancer.
3. Mounting evidence of sex differences in heart disease - Women with cardiovascular disease are 50 percent more likely to die from it than men with the disease. More women than men suffer from small vessel heart disease. More women than men are having a stroke in middle life. Women have a poorer quality of life after a stroke than men.
Researchers are now beginning to understand these differences and treatments to account for them have generally not yet been developed, underscoring the need for greater research support.
4. Improved model predicts breast cancer risk in African-American women -
Researchers from National Cancer Institute have developed a new model, called the CARE model, for calculating invasive breast cancer risk that has been found to give better estimates of the number of breast cancers that would develop in African American women 50 to 79 years of age than an earlier model, which was based primarily on data from white women.
The new model was unveiled in November.
5. Young girls' obesity rates rising - According to research published in April, four-year-old girls are six times more likely to have a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or more than they were 20 years ago.
The results point to recent changes in kids' environment and lifestyles, which merits monitoring, further research and action, given the health risks associated with adulthood obesity such as increased risks for heart disease and type-2 diabetes.