ACLA Recognizes National Women’s Health Week by Spotlighting the Value of Diagnostic Testing as an Empowering Tool In Disease Prevention and Treatment Decision-Making
WASHINGTON, D.C. – The American Clinical Laboratory Association (ACLA) today joined with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office on Women’s Health to recognize the week of May 10-16 as National Women’s Health Week and draw attention to diagnostic tests from the common to the cutting edge and how they are playing a role in saving the lives of thousands of American women.
“For decades, diagnostic tests have been front and center in the war against heart disease and various types of cancers predominantly affecting women,” said Alan Mertz, President of ACLA. “As innovation has progressed and opened up the window to an individual’s DNA, molecular diagnostics has allowed women and their physicians to make even more informed decisions about the next steps in prevention and treatment.”
The following tests are a few of the diagnostic screening tools impacting health choices for women:
- According to a National Cancer Institute study updated February 2015, regular Papanicolaou (PAP) screening of appropriate women for cervical cancer decreases cervix cancer incidence and mortality by at least 80%.
- The American Heart Association (AHA) notes, “Every minute in the United States, someone’s wife, mother, daughter or sister dies from heart disease, stroke or another form of cardiovascular disease (CVD). More than one in three women is living with CVD, including nearly half of all African-American women and just 34 percent of white women.” The AHA recommends taking the lipoprotein profile every four to six years, starting at the age of 20, to measure total cholesterol and triglyceride levels to determine if you are at increased risk for heart disease or stroke.
- The BRCA gene test is typically offered to people who are likely to have an inherited mutation based on personal or family history of breast cancer. Breastcancer.org reports that for women, “the risk of getting breast cancer in your lifetime if you have a BRCA1 or BRCA2 abnormality is between about 40 percent and 85 percent – about 3 to 7 times greater than that of a woman who does not have the mutation.”
“Diagnostic testing and physician consultation can offer a roadmap for women and all health care consumers who recognize prevention and information as important weapons in the battle against life threatening disease,” said Mertz. “America, in many cases, through diagnostic innovation, has been able to reduce the numbers of cancer victims and other potential casualties of life-threatening diseases that have cost too many precious lives over the years. As we commemorate National Women’s Health Week, it is important for all of us to remember that knowledge is power. Ask questions, be informed, and consult your doctor to see if a diagnostic test is right for you.”
For additional information on National Women’s Health Week, please visit https://www.womenshealth.gov/nwhw/. Join the conversation on Twitter using the hashtag #NWHW.