Women With Symptomatic Fibroids Delay Treatment

Ruzanna Harutyunyan's picture
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At the annual meeting of the American Association of Gynecologic Laparoscopists (AAGL), ETHICON Women's Health & Urology today announced results of a seven-country study measuring the effects of uterine fibroids and associated symptoms on quality of life (QoL). Researchers found that one in five women suffer with symptomatic fibroids for more than 5 years before getting medical treatment. Further, despite diagnosis, more than one-third of women remain untreated -- either surgically or medically -- for their fibroids, which means that many women continue to experience symptoms severe enough to affect QoL.

Uterine fibroids are benign tumors made up of fibrous and muscular tissue in the uterine wall. They occur in one third of women over age thirty and are a major reason for hysterectomy worldwide. Women who have uterine fibroids may experience debilitating symptoms such as abnormal bleeding, pain, pressure in the pelvic region, painful intercourse, frequent urination or infertility.

The CHASM (Cross-Sectional Survey of HRQoL And Symptoms of Myoma) study was sponsored by ETHICON and designed to quantify the fibroid burden on a woman's QoL and to better understand current management of symptomatic fibroids. More than 2,500 adult women experiencing fibroid symptoms with a self-reported physician diagnosis or previous treatment for uterine fibroids were surveyed in the United States, Canada and five European countries. Researchers found that:

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-- Overall, 22% of women who have been diagnosed with uterine fibroids waited at least five years before getting treatment.

-- A substantial percentage of women (almost 45% of those diagnosed and almost 70% of those with symptoms) have not sought any treatment in the past year

-- Of those who have sought medical care and been diagnosed, more than 36% have not received surgical or medical treatment, despite reporting symptoms that interfere with their quality of life

-- Women who have opted for surgical treatment report a better quality of life outcome than those who have used medication

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