How the WTA encourages women to advocate for preventive care

Thursday August 25thethe WTA (Women’s Tennis Association) and its main global sponsor and official health partner, Hologic, brought together some of the world’s most recognized athletes and health care experts in Your health advantage to discuss preventive care for women. The goal was to encourage everyone to take practical steps to prioritize our physical and emotional health.

In the event, Hologic Global Women’s Health Index presented data representing the views of 94% of the world’s women and girls aged 15 and over. They shared that more than 1.5 billion women interviewed for the Index in 2021 said they had not been tested for cancer, high blood pressure, diabetes, or sexually transmitted infections in the past year.

“Combined, these four conditions kill or harm billions of people worldwide each year,” said Dr. Susan Harvey, vice president of Global Medical Affairs for Hologic Inc. “The significant lack of preventive care is distressing because, As a breast health expert for decades, I have seen firsthand the life-saving and life-changing impact of early detection and treatment.”

However, like tennis legend Martina Navratilova, there are often many obstacles to being proactive around health, including time and money.

“A lot of this is because people are too busy or don’t have the funds, because it costs money to get tested,” Navratilova said. “It’s complicated. For most women, it’s money, time, or both.”

Other issues include the recent pandemic, the gender disparity in health care, and a lack of knowledge about what screening tests are necessary to protect health.

Talking about barricades with Navratilova

In January 2022, Navratilova shared her diagnosis of a noninvasive form of breast cancer called ductal carcinoma in situ, or DCIS, which in her case was confined to the milk ducts and had not spread to breast tissue.

“I cried for about 30 seconds and then went into solution right away,” he said. “I had a ‘good cancer’ if there is such a thing. Let’s talk about an oxymoron.”

Navratilova received her cancer diagnosis during a routine mammogram after not having one for four years. In general, cancer screening tests have decreased during the pandemic. A US survey study published in JAMA Network Open reveals that breast and cervical cancer screenings fell 6% and 11% in the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic.

In addition, an estimated 9.4 million screening tests that would normally have been performed in the United States in 2020 did not happen. Many experts fear that these missed screening tests could lead to cancers being diagnosed at a more advanced stage.

Speaking with Navratilova after the panel event, we discussed these topics how A study published in Academic Emergency Medicine found that women who went to the emergency room (ER) with severe stomach pain had to wait almost 33% longer than men with the same symptoms.

Also, a 2000 study published in The New England Journal of Medicine found that women are seven times more likely than men to be misdiagnosed and discharged in the midst of a heart attack.

More recently, a California woman made the news when she said she was diagnosed with stage four breast cancer eight months after she was twice denied a mammogram due to her young age and family history.

So what do you do when insurance, doctors, or certain protocols are the factors standing in your way like the examples above?

Navratilova responded that she would encourage women to stand up for themselves, saying, “Trust yourself and get a second or third opinion if you need to. Keep looking, change your doctor, change your insurance, or pay for it yourself if you need to; find I mean, if you don’t stand up for yourself, who will?

“I think she (the California woman) did all the right things,” said Dr. Jennifer Maynard, a medical advisor to the WTA and a Mayo Clinic physician. The fact that the patient was worried, as a doctor, she would have ordered the mammogram. It depends on where she is in the country or in the world and whether she has insurance or not. It’s hard”.

Make you and your health a priority

A study by Redbook and HealthyWomen (a nonprofit dedicated to providing health information to women) found that 45% of women over 30 don’t spend time on their health, in part because they’re too busy managing that of others.

“Even female athletes who perform at the highest level of their sport are not immune to the health problems that affect other women,” said Dr. Maynard. “I hope that the more we talk about these issues, the stigmas will be removed. Women should make their health and themselves a priority.”

There is another aspect that gets in the way of some women: fear. A 2003 survey by Mattson and Maria Braun, an associate professor of communication studies at West Virginia University, showed that a high percentage of women between the ages of 18 and 71 have fears about the care they receive, more specifically from their gynecologists.

Maynard feels the fear is related to the Redbook and HealthyWomen study mentioned above: that if something is “wrong,” they may not be able to care for their family or children. She suggests changing that logic and being proactive about getting preventive care. That way you can potentially tackle an illness early and be available to take care of others, your career, and yourself.

As for any fear, Navratilova makes it clear that she has no patience for it.

“If you find something, wouldn’t you like to find something sooner rather than later?” she asked. “Not knowing drives me crazy. Women have to stand up and be counted. We’re not taught how to do it, but we should know better!”

Women can learn more about their medical appointments and get screened for various types of cancer by visiting here.

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