News and Issues

Promoting strong female role models at Halloween

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Can girls (and parents) reinforce positive role models with a Halloween costume?

In the recent Globe and Mail article How can we encourage positive Halloween costumes? Craig and Marc Kielburger asked women to weigh in on this question. CWHN's Executive Director Anne Rochon Ford said this:

“Young girls need constant positive reinforcement for the models of interesting women who are worth emulating. We do them a tremendous disservice by encouraging them to look like pop stars or sex kittens. Being a doctor, nurse or scientist is cool – let’s get that message out!”

Read the whole article in the Globe and Mail.

HPV vaccine: No easy answers

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A recent editorial in the British Medical Journal asks some provocative questions about whether or not a national human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccination program is worthwhile. 

The editorial discusses a study in India in which more than 23 000 girls aged 10-14 years were given the HPV vaccine. The study was halted due to allegations – now proven– of ethical violations.

India has more deaths from cervical cancer annually than any other country in the world, so the debate over the HPV vaccine is critical to their national health policy.

The article also discusses a clinical review of the evolving evidence on primary prevention of cervical cancer. This review finds that there is “only a 1-2% chance of developing cervical cancer in the absence of screening and vaccination, making cervical cancer ‘a very rare complication of a relatively common infection.’”

Read HPV vaccination as a national health priority: no easy answers.

Prevention Precaution: SSRI’s and Pregnancy

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In a recent post on the RxISK website, Harriet Rosenberg discusses concerns about prescribing selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitors (SSRIs), a class of antidepressants, during pregnancy. She notes “there is a patient safety and Women’s Health Movement mobilization deeply concerned about the use of SSRIs during pregnancy and the relentless downplaying of the risks of these drugs”, and points to CWHN’s resource, Taking SSRI Antidepressants During Pregnancy: Considerations and Risks.

Read Prevention Precaution.

Prescription painkiller death: A growing epidemic among women

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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the US have published some alarming statistics on how many women are dying from overdosing on prescription painkillers.

About 18 women die every day of a prescription painkiller overdose in the US, more than 6,600 deaths in 2010. 

Visit their website to read more.

CWHN cited in hormone replacement debate story

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Whether or not menopausal women should replace the naturally diminished hormones in their bodies was being debated in the Toronto Star recently. CWHN’s Executive Director Anne Rochon Ford said on the issue, “Menopause is not a disease. Menopause is a natural life event in every single woman on this planet and the move to medicate it had a tremendous marketing machine behind it going back to the 1940s.”

Read Hormone replacement debate heats up again.

Telling our abortion stories - or not

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CWHN’s Executive Director Anne Rochon Ford is quoted in the Toronto Star, weighing in on whether or not women should make public their stories of abortion. In an increasingly fraught atmosphere, particularly in the United States, where abortion laws are becoming more and more restrictive, can it help us to know other women’s abortion stories?

In this article Judith Timson writes about not only a woman’s right to choose, but a woman’s right to keep her choice private.

Read Abortion tell-alls are a trap: Timson.

Deaths from painkillers rising sharply among US women

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A shocking report in the New York Times states that, in the United States, "More women now die of overdoses from pain pills like OxyContin than from cervical cancer or homicide."

Overdose deaths from prescription painkillers among American women have quintupled since 1999. Women’s rates of dying from overdoses have always been much lower than men but now women are starting to catch up.

Unfortunately, we don’t have Canadian data to compare how women in Canada fare.

Read the article in the Times: Sharp Rise in Women’s Deaths From Overdose of Painkillers.

Why Japan has withdrawn HPV vaccine recommendation

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This month the Japanese government withdrew its recommendation to use human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccines in girls, citing concerns about adverse effects as a reason.

This does not mean that Japan is stopping the HPV vaccination, but their ministry of health has told local governments not to promote the use of the medicine while analyses are conducted about adverse effects, such as long-term pain and numbness

Read the full article in Medscape: Japan Withdraws HPV Vaccine Recommendation for Girls

To read more on the HPV vaccine and how it is seen in Canada, see our recent article: HPV vaccine: why aren’t Canadians buying in?

Yaz/Yasmin and the deaths of Canadian women

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There has been a good deal of coverage about the CBC's findings from Health Canada files that the oral contraceptive Yaz/Yasmin has been linked to 23 possible deaths.  

This interview on CBC BC radio with drug researcher Barbara Mintzes gives, we feel, one of the better accounts of what is problematic about this OC and questions why it is even on the market:

Yaz/Yasmin and connection to the deaths of 23 Canadian women

Should Ductal Carcinoma In Situ (DCIS) be treated?

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DCIS is a controversial diagnosis: is it cancer or not? Should it be treated or not?

As mammography technology becomes increasingly more sensitive, the number of ‘abnormalities’ detected in the breast also increases; however, not all breast abnormalities require treatment. 

About 60,000 cases of DCIS are diagnosed each year and not all will be life threatening. Medical professionals cannot determine which women diagnosed with DCIS will eventually develop invasive breast cancer and which won’t.

Breast Cancer Action has a new factsheet about DCIS about DCIS, current treatment options, ‘active surveillance,’ and other questions you might have as you make decisions about your DCIS diagnosis.

Also, they have posted their recent Mammography webinar: "The Oversimplification of Early Detection: Screening Mammography and Breast Cancer Overdiagnosis." and Resources and Suggestions for Women Newly Diagnosed with Breast Cancer.

 

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