More Than 1.6 Million Women in the United States Need GYN Surgery Annually, But Few Know What’s At Stake
New Campaign Encourages Women to Get the Facts about the Rapid Advancements in GYN Surgery
Washington, DC; September 15, 2015 – New research released today finds that more than half of American women either don’t know or have misperceptions about common gynecological conditions and surgeries, such as uterine fibroids, hysterectomies, and myomectomies. Public awareness of GYN conditions and their treatment has not kept up with the rapid pace of advancements in minimally invasive GYN surgery.
Today, a team of fellowship-trained laparoscopic surgeons at The Center for Innovative GYN Care (CIGC) launched Uncovered: The Truth About GYN Surgery, a public education campaign focused on ways to treat uterine fibroids, endometriosis, and other women’s health conditions using new minimally invasive GYN surgical techniques. Developed to dispel the misperceptions keeping many women from seeking timely surgical treatment, the campaign takes on common myths and fears uncovered through a national survey of 500 women aged 18 and over.
The campaign also features a “one-stop” online resource – www.GynSurgeryInfo.org – with up-to-date information on GYN conditions, new developments in minimally invasive GYN surgery, and the FDA warning on the risks of injury or the spread of cancer with power morcellation in certain surgical methods. The site stresses the importance of getting second (or third) opinions before moving forward with surgery and offers tools to help choose a surgeon. Having this information is especially valuable now that the National Institutes of Health (NIH) considers fibroids and endometriosis growing health concerns due to the large number of women affected.
New Survey Findings Show Majority of Women are in the Dark about GYN Health
Up to 80 percent of women will develop fibroids by age 50, and over 5 million women suffer from endometriosis, according to the NIH. Understanding how these conditions affect overall health is essential for women making decisions about treatment. The new study served to clarify knowledge gaps women have about gynecological conditions and treatment options.
Among the findings:
- Sixty (60) percent of those polled didn’t know that ovaries are responsible for the hormone production that affects fertility and ultimately menopause.
- Seven in ten women (69 percent) either don’t know if or incorrectly believe that a hysterectomy removes the uterus, cervix and ovaries when this surgery only removes the uterus and cervix and does not induce menopause.
- Sixty-eight (68) percent have misperceptions about fibroids and cancer. One in four women (25 percent) believe fibroids are cancerous while another 43 percent say they are not sure if there is a cancer link.
- 76 percent of college-educated women incorrectly believe, or are unsure if they will need to take 6 weeks off of work for a hysterectomy.
Knowledge Gap & Fear of Sexual Changes Hamper Women’s Decisions
The study also that shows that outdated information about infertility and fear about sexual changes after GYN surgery are major roadblocks to more women getting the treatment they need.
- 59 percent of women worry sex will be less enjoyable after a hysterectomy. However, studies find no effect on arousal or sensation to a woman or her partner.
- Six in ten women of childbearing age (62 percent) either do not know, or dispute the fact, that fibroids are a cause of infertility – a condition that can be treated while preserving the uterus.
- More than half of women (54 percent) do not know or incorrectly believe that fibroids will go away with menopause. As a result, they may put off treatment when menopause may not cause the fibroids to shrink.
“The survey findings represent a wake-up call for the women’s health community,” said Dr. Natalya Danilyants, MD, former Division Chief of Minimally Invasive GYN Surgery at Inova Fair Oaks Hospital, and Co-Founder of CIGC. “Out of fear and limited information, too many women are not undergoing surgical procedures to treat a range of GYN conditions, like minimally invasive removal of large fibroids, or endometriosis excision to restore their ability to become pregnant or return to their normal lives. It is up to health professionals to empower women to be their own best advocate, ask questions, and seek a second opinion from a surgical specialist so they can make the best decision for their situation.”
The campaign will also inform women of new advances in minimally invasive surgical options that can be performed on an outpatient basis with less scarring, bleeding, and pain. This includes procedures like ovarian cystectomy, hysterectomy, endometriosis excision and pelvic adhesion removal that can be performed with paper-cut sized incisions at the belly button and bikini line, and a new hybrid approach to remove all fibroids of any size or in any location using only two small incisions.
“Recent advances in the field of GYN surgery now make it possible for women to undergo complex GYN surgeries as outpatient procedures, resulting in minimal pain, extremely low levels of complications, and fast recovery times,” said Dr. Paul MacKoul, MD, Director of Gynecologic Laparoscopy at Holy Cross Hospital and Co-Founder of CIGC. “Our goal is to educate women about these new surgical options so they will be able to choose the safest, least invasive, and most thorough procedure that provides the best recovery possible.”
About the Survey
Conducted for The Center for Innovative GYN Care by the Clarus Research Group, the survey was fielded via telephone among a national probability sample of 500 women 18 years of age and older, living in private households in the continental United States. Interviewing was conducted from April 30 to May 3, 2015 and entailed responses to 12 statements based on misperceptions about GYN conditions and widely performed GYN surgeries that are well documented in the literature. Extrapolated estimates of total number of women are based on the poll findings, which has a margin of sampling error that aggregate data does not have. The margin of error for this sample size is +/-4.38 percent at the 95 percent confidence level.
About The Center for Innovative GYN Care
Based in the Washington, DC region, The Center for Innovative GYN Care (CIGC) is staffed by a team of board-certified, fellowship-trained laparoscopic GYN surgeons who are pioneers in developing innovative, minimally invasive surgical techniques to treat even the most complex gynecologic conditions without the use of power morcellation or robotics. CIGC’s specialists also train GYN surgeons around the country in innovative techniques and procedures that optimize GYN surgical care. CIGC surgeons are dedicated to providing information and materials for women to help navigate the complicated healthcare system.