Friday, June 17, 2011

Teresa joins the team!

Teresa joins the White Pants team!

Teresa Edwards, the most decorated player in the history of USA basketball, underwent treatment for uterine fibroids recently at Emory-Adventist Hospital in Atlanta.  
Ms. Edwards who is scheduled to be inducted into the Professional Basketball Hall of Fame in August, and is currently the Director of Player Personnel for the WNBA Tulsa Shock, had no time in her busy schedule for surgery. She chose instead a non-surgical treatment option called Uterine Fibroid Embolization (UFE).
The UFE procedure was performed in less than 1 hour. Ms. Edwards had an uneventful recovery and was discharged home that same day. “I feel great,” she stated.
She was back to work within a week and is already resuming her workouts in the gym. “I couldn’t afford the long recovery from surgery, and what was even more appealing to me is the fact that I can keep all of my parts. I know a number of women who have had new problems surface after hysterectomy.”
Most medical experts agree that while the traditional treatment for symptomatic uterine fibroids in women who have completed childbearing has been hysterectomy, this is now unnecessary with non-surgical options like UFE.  UFE patients go home the same day with a band-aid and avoid the surgical complications and other issues associated with losing your uterus.
The uterus is very important to heart health and bone health. Women who lose their uterus have a significantly higher cardiovascular risk (i.e increased risk of heart attack, stroke) and risk of osteoporosis and bone fracture. A number of women suffer psychologically after hysterectomy (from losing their womb) like a man being castrated. They also can have sexual dysfunction (exs. loss of libido, loss of orgasm) or urinary incontinence.
The lack of awareness of UFE despite its long track record of safety and efficacy surprised Ms. Edwards. This was highlighted in a Wall Street Journal article from 2004 entitled, “Silent Treatment: Hysterectomy Alternative Goes Unmentioned to Many Women. Gynecologists Often Don’t Cite Less-Invasive Procedure To Treat Fibroid Tumors. Bailiwick of Other Specialists.”   Even an edict from the American College of Obstetricians & Gynecologists from 2008 which stated that based on long- and short-term outcomes, UFE is a safe and effective option for women with fibroids who wanted an alternative to hysterectomy, has not significantly changed treatment patterns. Many patients like Ms. Edwards were initially unaware of any other options besides surgery.
This need for education of treatment options has spawned a grassroots movement entitled, Wear White Pants (WWP). Women suffering with uterine fibroids cannot typically wear white any time of year due to the heavy menstrual flow and fear of subsequent accidents that they often cause. This can imprison women such that their entire life is tied to the menstrual cycle.
UFE gives women their freedom and their life back. It is one of medicine’s most significant breakthroughs yet over 1 million women in the US currently suffer with fibroids; many of whom are completely unaware of UFE.
The goal of WWP movement is to empower women with the information that are alternatives to hysterectomy that allow one suffering with fibroids to avoid surgery, keep their uterus, and get the symptom relief they long for.
As the newest spokesperson for the WWP movement, Ms. Edwards hopes she can help educate women on UFE and bring an end to suffering for the over one million women in the US who currently suffer with fibroids in silence.
Ms. Edwards summarized the WWP movement by stating, “There is a lot of work to be done, but I hope through efforts in Atlanta and elsewhere we will get our message heard.”

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