News and Issues

CWHN presents to Senate Committee on Breast Density Awareness Act

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Anne Rochon Ford, CWHN’s Executive Director, spoke in May before the Standing Senate Committee on Social Affairs, Science and Technology, presenting our views on Bill C-314 (The Breast Density Awareness Act).

Read the full text of her presentation here.

CWHN Sponsored: 
CWHN Sponsored

Tributes paid to Dr. Morgentaler, 1923 - 2013

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Dr. Henry Morgentaler, who worked with women in Canada for the past half century to win and protect our right to have an abortion, has died.

He was 90 years old.

Read some of the stories and tributes to him here.

Farewell to a brave, inspiring fighter: Canadians pay tribute to Dr. Henry Morgentaler (Rabble.ca)

Dr. Henry Morgentaler: “A True Canadian Hero Who Saved Countless Lives” (Abortion Rights Coalition of Canada)

Timeline: Henry Morgentaler, 1923 - 2013 (Globe and Mail)

January 2013 marked the 25th Anniversary of the Supreme Court decision that struck down Canada's abortion law. Many women across the country were involved in building the movement that advocated for that decision.

This 15-minute video commemorating that anniversary deals with how the Canadian reproductive freedom movement was built, and how Morgentaler was involved in this struggle: 25th Anniversary of The Morgentaler Decision: Carolyn Egan talks about the movement for choice.

Health Canada’s review of Diane-35 supports current labelling and use

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Here is the latest notice from Health Canada on Diane-35:

Health Canada’s review of the safety of the anti-acne medication Diane-35 has found that the drug’s benefits continue to outweigh the risks, when used as authorized. In Canada, Diane-35 is approved for the temporary treatment of severe acne – with associated symptoms of high levels of male hormone, including seborrhea (oily skin) and mild hirsutism (excessive body hair) – in women who are unresponsive to other available treatments. It should not be used in patients with a history that puts them at risk for blood clots, and is not approved for use as an oral contraceptive. 

See the notice on Health Canada’s website.

A moving tribute to Barbara Brenner, 1951-2013

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From Breast Cancer Action comes a moving tribute to Barbara Brenner, BCA’s Executive Director for 15 years.

Brenner died May 10 of ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, a progressive neurodegenerative disease).

“Social justice activist. Corporate ass-kicker. Civil rights advocate. Profound changer of lives. Visionary. Barbara’s fire and compassion inspired and empowered women living with and at risk of breast cancer, and all those who care about them, to change the course of the epidemic. In Barbara’s words: “Cancer won’t wait while we grieve. We have work to do.” 

Read the tribute on BCA’s website.

Angelina’s Jolie’s decision: Some other considerations…

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The public declaration by celebrity Angelina Jolie that she has had a prophylactic (preventative) double mastectomy has sparked lots of discussion. Did Angelina do the right thing? Her mother died of breast cancer and Angelina knew she had the breast cancer gene BRCA1, a genetic mutation that occurs in less than 1 percent of the population.

But when is such a radical move warranted? Women in the US already have a higher rate of mastectomies than women in other countries. Could Jolie’s actions save lives, or might it spur unnecessary mastectomies? Read some of the alternative commentary here:

Angelina Jolie's Decision (Diana Zuckerman, Huffington Post)

The Right Decision for Breast Cancer Treatment? It’s Up to You (Our Bodies, Our Blog)

Focus on preventing cancer (Jeanne Rizzo, Breast Cancer Fund)

Should we remove perfectly good organs “just in case”? (Holly Bridges, author of The UnHysterectomy)

 

HIV positive women need more gender-focused care

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In the latest Positive Living BC newsletter is a story about how women with HIV are finding “the lack of woman-centred, holistic and culturally-competent treatment is a "national disgrace.""

Read HIV positive women call for gender-focused care to curb death and transmission

How to abstain (from talking about appearances)

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What effect does it have when we say to someone, “You look so good—it looks like you’ve lost weight!”?

Can it actually contribute to body dissatisfaction and possibly eating disorders?

The latest blog from the National Eating Disorders Information Centre (NEDIC) takes a good look at those how we’re looking comments, and their implications for our health.

Read Abstaining From Appearance-Based Talk

HIV positive women getting worse treatment than men

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From the Positive Living BC eNews 95 this week:

VANCOUVER - Researchers in British Columbia researchers say they've found that women are far more likely than men to receive sub-standard care and treatment after they test HIV positive.

Findings from two studies by the B.C. Centre for Excellence in HIV-AIDS say barriers to treatment and care are leading to higher death rates and transmission among women with the virus.

Read the full story in Positive Living eNews.

All Alysena 28 birth control pills now being recalled in Canada

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If you live in Canada and Alysena 28 is your birth control pill, please note that ALL of these pills are being recalled by the manufacturer.

Health Canada posted another recall on the Alysena-28 birth control pills this week, this time on ALL lots of Alysena 28 day, as a precautionary measure, after last week’s recall of one specific lot.

This new recall by Apotex, the manufacturer, is for all ALysena 28 pills. They call this a precautionary measure while the firm investigates a packaging defect found in the original recalled lot (LF01899A). 

Canadians using Alysena 28 are asked in the meantime to use a non-hormonal method of birth control, contact their health-care provider for medical advice and return unopened packages to their pharmacist.

Apotex has a toll-free recall information service at 1-866-367-4537 to provide patients and health-care professionals with additional support. 

The additional recalled medication have the following lot numbers: LF01901A, LF01900A, LF01898A, LF01894B, LF01980A, LF01982A, LF01981A, LF01979A, LF02037A, LF02036A and LF02026A. 

Read Health Canada’s latest notice on Alysena 28.

Read the April 17 story in the Winnipeg Free Press.

Looking critically at Dove’s Real Beauty Sketches Campaign

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In case you haven’t seen it, the latest video from Dove’s Real Beauty Sketches Campaign has gone viral on the ‘net. The video shows a forensic artist sketching women by how they view themselves, and then sketching them by how other people view them.

The video effectively shows how women labour under unrealistic beauty standards, leading to body image/body esteem issues and low self-esteem.

The campaign is laudable in that way. But what about the fact that this campaign is run by Dove, a company owned by Unilever that sells, for example, skin-bleaching products that capitalize on women’s (and men’s) self-loathing because of their skin colour?

And what about the fact that the video still focuses on how a woman looks, and how her self-worth is based on appearances?

For some very interesting critiques of the Dove campaign check out these commentaries:

Why Dove’s “Real Beauty Sketches” Video Makes Me Uncomfortable… and Kind of Makes Me Angry

Dove’s Real Beauty Sketch Campaign. An Open Letter by Jill Andrew

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