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HHS Urges Women to Get Regular Preventive Checkup

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Preventive Screenings Urged Nationwide on Day Following Mother's Day

HHS Press Release Date: May 7, 2003

On Monday, May 12, more than 600 community health centers, hospitals and other health care providers nationwide will encourage women to visit a health care professional as part of the Department of Health and Human Services' first National Women's Check-Up Day. The effort, scheduled for the day after Mother's Day, is part of the National Women's Health Week.

"National Women's Check-Up Day is a perfect opportunity for women to talk to a doctor or health care professional about their health and get the information and care that they need," HHS Secretary Tommy G. Thompson said. "For many women, a visit to the doctor is the first and critical step towards treating and preventing disease. In addition, simple steps like the ones outlined in President Bush's Healthier US initiative, can really make a difference—regular physical activity for 30 minutes a day, eating a nutritious diet and stop smoking can all have tremendous health benefits."

National Women's Check-Up Day emphasizes that getting a regular check-up and asking a doctor about screening for heart disease, diabetes, cancer and sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) are often keys to improving women's health. To help women and health care professionals track these issues, HHS is issuing a special pocket brochure, entitled Important Tests for a Woman's Good Health, which will be distributed in conjunction with National Women's Health Week.

HHS is also issuing a new women's health tool,Checklist for Your Next Checkup,developed by HHS' Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.

The checklist shows at a glance what screening tests the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommends for women and when they should be given. It includes information about nine important medical screening tests to detect disease or other conditions early. The checklist also provides information on medicines, immunizations, and tips on staying healthy.

The new campaign recognizes that many of the leading causes of death among women can be successfully prevented or treated if the warning signs are caught early enough. For example:

  • Heart disease is the number one killer of American women. Often thought of as a man's disease, more women die of heart disease each year than do men.
  • Cancer is the second leading cause of death of American women. Lung cancer is the top cancer killer among American women, with an estimated 65,000 deaths in 2002, followed by breast cancer and colorectal cancer.
  • Stroke is the number three killer of American women. Each year, 30,000 more women than men have strokes.
  • Diabetes is the fifth leading cause of death in women. An estimated 17 million Americans have diabetes (8.1 million women), of which an estimated 6 million are undiagnosed.
  • HIV and sexually transmitted diseases also have a major effect on women's health. There are an estimated 40,000 new HIV infections each year in the United States, with about 30 percent of reported infections occurring in women.

"While medical research and treatment are enabling women to live longer and healthier lives than ever before, far too many women die each year of diseases that could be treated if detected early on," Surgeon General Richard Carmona said. "By getting regular check-ups, women can get the care and medical advice that can help them enjoy more tomorrows with the people they love."

Anyone interested in receiving the Important Tests for a Woman's Good Health brochure in English or Spanish can call the National Women's Health Information Center toll-free at (800) 994-WOMAN (9662) or (888) 220-5446 TDD. More information about Women's Health Check-Up Day is also available at http://www.4woman.gov/whw.

The new Checklist for Your Next Checkup is available on the AHRQ Web site in English at http://www.ahrq.gov/ppip/healthywom.htm and in Spanish at http://www.ahrq.gov/ppip/healthywomsp.htm. Copies of the tool and related materials are available by calling (800) 358-9295 or sending an E-mail to AHRQPubs@ahrq.hhs.gov. Clinical information also is available from the National Guideline Clearinghouse™ at http://www.guideline.gov.

Note: All HHS press releases, fact sheets and other press materials are available at http://www.hhs.gov/news.

For more information, please contact the HHS Press Office: (202) 690-6343.


 

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