**Who’s Your Women’s Health Hero? Our Bodies Ourselves USA wants to know.***
Please can you register your vote/comment for me at Our Bodies – Ourselves Boston USA http://www.ourbodiesourblog.org/blog/2009/04/women-can-kath-mazzella To vote: click yellow stars under my blog nomination.
As you know I have lobbied for 15 years now to raise the profile of Gyn/Sexual Health. Below is an opportunity for me to raise the profile of the International Gyn Awareness Day.
Millions of global women have Gyn issues – your vote could help give an International voice assist to help save women’s lives or life time complications.
It would be much appreciated if you could send/encourage your networks to also vote. Good health to you.
Dear Kath, I’m please to let you know you have been nominated for Our Bodies Ourselves Women’s Health Hero award by Hayley Solich. Our Bodies Ourselves’ Board of Directors staff will chose one winner, the other will be determined by a public ratings system located on the contest website. Public voting ends May 8, 2009. The highest overall ranking will receive the Audience Choice Award. So don’t forget to ask friends, family/co-workers to rate your entry. Good luck! To view all entries please click here. General Contest Information
Wendy Brovold – firstname.lastname@example.org www.ourbodiesourselves.org/heroes.asp, Communications & Marketing Manager, Our Bodies Ourselves,
5 Upland Road #3,Cambridge, MA 02140, 617-245-0200 (p), 617-245-0201 (f) ,
www.speakingopenly.com abn: 80 616 529 918
Gyn Cancer Survivor/Advocate-Speaker
Changes start with action – let’s celebrate
International Gyn Awareness Day 10 September 2009
Founder/Life Member GAIN Inc. www.gain.org.au
Gynaecological Awareness Information
I am very pleased to announce that I have received an Order of Australia Medal honour for the Queen’s Birthday celebrations.
It is a complete honour and I feel very privileged to have my work recognised.
I am hoping that this honour will help me to advance the cause of getting an International Gynae Awareness Day event more widely celebrated on 10 Sept every year. I encourage you to participate in the Day this year by organising an event in your local area. Gather the women together and invite some medical practitioners along to share information. It only takes one person to make a difference and that difference could save another’s lives. Knowledge is power as they say.
Thanks to all those who have shared in this momentous occasion.
I am really excited to share that Hayley Solich 0f Women Can International nominated me for Our Bodies Ourselves Womens Health Hero award. From this I was seleceted as one of 20 inductees for the Award for the vision of an International Gyn Awareness Day 10 September annually.
We are delighted to let you know that you have been selected as one of 20 Our Bodies Ourselves Women’s Health Heroes! Your work has inspired us all. We would also like to extend our congratulations to Lisa Copen, founder of Rest Ministries (Audience Choice Award), and the Fair Haven (Conn.) Community Health Center Midwifery Group (OBOS selection).
After asking readers, “Who’s your women’s health hero?” OBOS received nearly 100 nominations from 12 countries. We knew we couldn’t designate only two award recipients, so we set out to find a way to honor the number of nominees; spotlight the diversity of their work; and celebrate activism in communities around the world.
We have decided to make the Women’s Health Heroes an annual event, our own small version of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame (without the band reunions). Within five years, we will have inducted at least 100 people who have made significant, long-lasting contributions to women’s health. As one of the first OBOS Women’s Health Heroes, we hope you’ll share the news and consider nominating someone next year.
Please respond to this email with your mailing address so that we may send you a certificate celebrating this occasion. With our best wishes & congratulations –
Wendy Brovold, Christine Cupaiuolo, Judy Norsigian,Kiki Zeldes – For the Our Bodies Ourselves Board of Trustees _______________________________________________________
I wish to be able to encourage the other inductees to celebrate the IGADay in their corner of the world so that the message can now reach many global women to bring these issues out into the public arena. This way more funding, research and most of all support can be given to women of the world.
I would also like to thank all those that voted for me and showed their support. I really appreciate your efforts and also to those that left me so many encouraging messages. Thank you so much.
Regards Kath Mazzella
Things are progressing at a rate of knots. Not as much rejection these days. Thank God for that.
Here’s a photo from Vulval Awareness Day. Em from 92.9 radio was blown away with the info she received from Doctors and womens stories-so much so she went on – orgnaised a radio show pap smear express bus – women spoke of how they felt about pap smears, how they put off doing this, ie. fear etc, Em blew all the embarrassment and shame and fear out the window. BRAVO to you Em. This is what I have wanted for 15 years, I cannot tell you how elated I feel.
Raising Awareness of Women’s Health and Gynaecological Cancers -
Jeannette Preston’s letter reproduced below…
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
I am privileged to be a Methodist Preacher in the Falmouth Circuit in Cornwall, United Kingdom. 18 months ago I had endometrial cancer, and along with most women with gynaecological cancers, suddenly faced the reality that I might die at age 58. It was a traumatic time, there was much of the Lord’s work to do, my family give me so much joy, and I was not ready.
I returned to my post of Lecturer in Health and Social Care after 6 weeks and had not told anyone that I had cancer. It did not seem important. I just wanted to get on with the work I loved, and not have to think too much about having experienced such trauma.
Following surgery I began to be in touch with women around the world who had gynaecological cancers, and their stories affected me deeply. I was saddened to hear from young women how they were dying due to ignorance of the signs and symptoms of gynaecological cancers, many of them not having had the smear/pap test. Many were leaving young babies behind.
I read Kath Mazzella’s story and could not cope with the knowledge that she had had to have a radical vulvectomy while still a young woman. This mutilating surgery must be the fear of anyone who knows about cancers. To have your outer genitalia removed is beyond anyone’s ability to understand such awfulness. The daily discomfort, pain, inability to be a loving wife to her husband, plus the fear of the cancer spreading to other areas, is a dreadful burden to bear.
As a young nurse I had watched the operation that she endured and remember being horrified as I watched the patient’s genitalia being removed. It is an image that is unforgettable.
During prayers and times of reflection I came to change my views about keeping quiet about my own experience. I began to talk to those I knew well, and warn them about the signs and symptoms of womb cancer, telling them all to know that the smear test does not show other cancers in the pants area.
The more I spoke, the more I realised how little women know, and I was called to do something about it. I knew that our Father would not want the Rubies of His world being wiped out through ignorance. Proverbs 31.v.10 A good wife who can find? She is far more precious than jewels, the heart of her husband trusts in her… I knew then that I had to make a positive decision to promote awareness and PANTS was born. It is a charitable organisation which I run on my own and my aim is to save lives.
PANTS was chosen as a light hearted name which I hoped would attract the young women, those who are not having their smear tests, or who are not having safe sex and leaving themselves vulnerable to infection by their boyfriends and husbands of the Human Papilloma Virus which is likely to lead to vulval and cervical cancer.
For some reason which I find hard to fathom but which has some basis in Christian doctrines being taught, societies buy in to the misunderstanding that women alone are responsible for the transmission of sexually transmitted disease. It is rarely known that men can get cancer of the genitals and some have their penises removed from HPV viruses, and some will die.
We live in a society where women are blamed for marriage failures, for being unmarried mothers, for being raped, and children blamed for being sexually abused, and for getting the HPV virus and other diseases. No mention is ever made of the responsibility of men. I worked for 17 years as a child protection Social worker and was horrified in court to hear barristers defending abusing families by saying that the children were “ earthy”, some as young as 2 years of age. The implication being that the parents could not be held responsible as the children asked for it.
I believe that we as Methodists have a duty to change the views of society and not to conform to these dreadful notions about women being the cause of so much that happens to them which is inflicted by men.
Girls should be protected against the HPV by vaccination. Believe me no one wants their daughter, granddaughter, sister to die of cervical cancer, it is an awful way to die. In my view, linking arguments against the vaccine with some notion that it will raise promiscuity is such nonsense. It is a safeguard for all women who may eventually marry and not know what kind of sexual history their partners may have. It is the men who may infect the women remember. They should, and hopefully will, all be vaccinated in due course.
I spent a great deal of time with mothers who would not have their children vaccinated against the MMR because of the unfounded fears about it’s safety pronounced by a doctor who has long been discredited. And what happened as a result? Children died of measles. I see a connection between this and the HPV vaccination, except that many, many more of our children will die.
It will not surprise you to know then that I promote Human Rights for all people and included in this promotion is my belief that we are entitled to know about the risk to our bodies from various diseases. I cannot accept that it is not appropriate to talk about women’s diseases when Christ was asked to heal the woman “with issue”, who very probably, in my view, had some type of gynaecological cancer.
I talk about women’s health wherever I go, including the Pulpit, and have been overwhelmed by the support I receive. Life is precious to our Lord and Father, and is precious to me. Women struck down in their 20’s and 30’s face a terrifying future with radio and chemotherapy which has many many side effects which will affect them for the rest of their lives, and of course for many, nothing can be done and children are left without their mothers.
For older women like myself it is hard to face cancer, and to cope with a future of uncertainty, never knowing if it will recur somewhere else. I am committed to helping my sisters, and know that you will be too. I cannot sit by and let them die of ignorance and am inspired by Kath Mazzella who is working tirelessly to raise awareness. She is a phenomenon for good is this world.
In the love of Christ, Jeannette Preston.
Federally-Funded Study Shows More Women Can Avoid Hysterectomy for Common Problem
CYPRESS, Calif., Dec. 27 /PRNewswire/ — A minimally invasive procedure
called endometrial ablation is as effective as hysterectomy in solving a
common female complaint called “dysfunctional uterine bleeding” or DUB,
according to a new federally-funded study published in the Journal of
Obstetrics and Gynecology.
DUB (dysfunctional uterine bleeding) can be described as abnormal
bleeding which cannot be attributed to abnormalities of the female
reproductive system, pharmacological interaction, intrauterine
contraception, or bleeding disorders. It is also referred to
The condition affects up to a third of all women at some point during
their reproductive years, usually women over age 30. It is characterized by
extremely heavy, erratic menstrual bleeding and is often accompanied by
fatigue, pelvic pain and decreased quality of life. The excessive blood
loss in DUB can provoke iron deficiency anemia.
“This is a very important study, proving that a minimally invasive
procedure — endometrial ablation — can solve the problem of excessive
bleeding as well as hysterectomy,” commented Franklin D. Loffer, M.D.,
Executive Vice President/Medical Director of AAGL, the professional
organization dedicated to the advancement of minimally-invasive gynecologic
surgery. “Women should always be offered the least invasive, effective
approach to solving her medical problems.”
While hysterectomy (the removal of the uterus and in some cases the
ovaries and cervix) has a long history of use to cure DUB, newer, less
invasive procedures have become available in recent years. These have
stirred controversy over whether hysterectomy is overused, particularly for
conditions such as DUB for which more conservative approaches may be just
as effective and cause fewer complications.
The new study, bearing the acronym of StopDUB for “Surgical Treatments
Outcomes Project for Dysfunctional Uterine Bleeding,” was a multi-center,
randomized, controlled trial in the U.S. and Canada involving 237 women at
25 treatment centers. The primary complaint causing women to seek surgery
was excessive bleeding that had not been mitigated by medical therapy.
These women were randomly assigned to receive either hysterectomy or
endometrial ablation, a minimally invasive technique that removes only the
lining of the uterus (the lining cells are responsible for the bleeding),
not the entire organ.
The primary measure of success in the study was women’s satisfaction
with their treatment, rather than just a clinical endpoint. After three
years of follow-up, the vast majority of patients in both groups (93-95%)
reported that their problem was solved. The secondary endpoints of pain and
fatigue were also similar between the hysterectomy group and the
endometrial ablation group.
“Using women’s satisfaction as the study goal, rather than clinical
endpoints alone, was very astute from our perspective, because the most
important outcome is the woman’s opinion, not the doctor’s,” said Dr.
Loffer. “Our view at AAGL is always patient-focused: how much pain will
there be, how much trauma, how much time lost, what impact on the quality
of life? These are the measures that count.”
Advantages of the less invasive procedure include shorter hospital
stays (hours instead of days), less blood loss, fewer complications and
quicker recovery. In many cases endometrial ablation causes menstrual
periods to become much lighter and more regular, rather than eliminating
them altogether. Many women consider this to be a satisfactory outcome and
would prefer to have normal periods rather than lose their uterus.
“Both endometrial ablation and hysterectomy are effective treatments in
women with dysfunctional uterine bleeding. However, hysterectomy was
associated with about four times more adverse events and six times as many
postoperative infections,” said Malcolm Munro, MD, an investigator in the
StopDUB Research Group at the David Geffen School of Medicine, University
of California Los Angeles. Dr. Munro is also an advisor to the AAGL.
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG)
recommends that treatment for menorrhagia begin with the least invasive
therapy. But, for some women, endometrial ablation may not solve their
“In this study about two thirds of women were able to avoid
hysterectomy by having an endometrial ablation procedure while about a
third of the patients who had received endometrial ablation ended up having
a hysterectomy several years later. This rate is comparable to that seen in
other studies,” said Munro.
About 600,000 hysterectomies are performed annually in the U.S., making
it the second most common major surgery performed on women of reproductive
age. There is controversy about how many of these hysterectomies are really
necessary. Clearly, 120,000 hysterectomies performed each year for DUB
(without uterine pathology) are amenable to endometrial ablation. Moreover,
many patients with uterine fibroids and abnormal bleeding can be treated
via endometrial ablation. Fibroids account for 40% of hysterectomies each
While some doctors may look for anemia as a diagnostic indicator for
DUB, in the StopDUB study women’s perception of their problem was the main
criterion, supported by clinical measures of excess duration, amount, or
unpredictability of flow. “We felt that women should not have to be anemic
in order to seek help and have their problem taken seriously,” said Munro.
“Based on our results, it is reasonable to recommend that women should
select the type of surgery they want for DUB, based on their preferences
and situations,” concluded Munro.
The AAGL is the first and largest organization in the world dedicated
to gynecologic endoscopic surgery. Founded in 1971, AAGL works to advance
the safest and most efficacious diagnostic and therapeutic techniques that
afford less invasive treatments for gynecologic conditions through the
integration of clinical practice, research, innovation, and dialogue. For
the past 36 years, the organization has educated the world’s finest
surgeons while improving the lives of women everywhere. This global
commitment to women’s health care is embodied in their continuing medical
education of physicians and professionals to further promote the
well-documented high standards of minimally invasive gynecologic surgery.
For more information visit http://www.aagl.org.