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Less than one-third of women aware of landmark hormone therapy study, Stanford researcher finds
Date:9/18/2007

ory loss and 34 percent knew that it increased the risk for heart disease. The study did not penalize women for responses that reflected scientific uncertainty about the risks and benefits of hormone therapy.

Stafford said the low level of knowledge about the WHI and the effects of hormone therapy may reflect that people don't always heed medical news unless it relates to their current medical problems. He speculated that some of the surveyed women weren't experiencing menopausal symptoms at the time of the 2002 announcement and may not have paid attention to the news. Additionally, he found that women who lived in large households knew less about WHI and hormone therapy than women who lived alone, indicating that these women may have put the health needs of their spouses and children ahead of their own.

The women were also asked whether they had discussed hormone therapy with their physicians; Stafford found that 36 percent of the women who were aware of the WHI findings talked to their doctors about it compared with 15 percent of those who weren't aware of the findings. "The most likely way for this kind of information to be retained is through discussions with physicians, and for many women it appears that those discussions never took place," he said.

Stafford said his study is indicative of a larger problem - namely, ensuring that people can make informed decisions about their medical care. "It's a particularly relevant issue because of the increasing burden of chronic disease. Right now, we're not successful in educating the population about health issues that will become increasingly common and increasingly complex in the future," he said.


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Contact: Rosanne Spector
manishma@stanford.edu
650-725-5374
Stanford University Medical Center
Source:Eurekalert

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