The Courier-Mail

Women rank fat, age over can­cer

- SUSIE O’BRIEN

WOMEN care more about get­ting fat and old than they do about get­ting can­cer or hav­ing a heart at­tack, new re­search shows.

A na­tional sur­vey of more than 3300 women and health pro­fes­sion­als has found one in five women is con­cerned about weight and age­ing, but only one in 10 wor­ries about can­cer and men­tal health, and only one in 20 wor­ries about heart dis­ease.

This is de­spite the fact car­dio­vas­cu­lar dis­ease kills 50 per cent of women, and one in three women are di­ag­nosed with can­cer in their life­time.

The re­search has been re­leased by the non-profit health in­for­ma­tion or­gan­i­sa­tion Jean Hailes for Women’s Health, to mark Women’s Health Week, which starts on Septem­ber 7.

Dr Mandy Deeks, Jean Hailes’ head of com­mu­ni­ca­tion, said women were “made to be­lieve that car­dio­vas­cu­lar dis­ease is a male dis­ease, when this is def­i­nitely not the case”.

“We are aim­ing to iden­tify the gaps in women’s health knowl­edge and as­sist pro­fes­sion­als to help women to be as healthy as they can pos­si­bly be,” she said.

“In par­tic­u­lar this means rais­ing aware­ness of the symp­toms of heart dis­ease.

“If you are watch­ing what you weigh and be­ing phys­i­cally ac­tive, this is go­ing to help with blood pres­sure and chol- es­terol,” Dr Deeks said. “But you need to be aware of the warn­ing signs.”

The sur­vey showed some ma­jor gaps in women’s health knowl­edge. For in­stance, re­spon­dents said they knew a lot about pe­ri­ods, con­tra­cep­tion, sex­ual health, de­pres­sion and anx­i­ety, but lit­tle about recog­nis­ing the symp­toms of heart at­tack or heart dis­ease and man­ag­ing blood pres­sure.

WE ARE AIM­ING TO IDEN­TIFY THE GAPS IN WOMEN’S HEALTH KNOWL­EDGE Dr Mandy Deeks

The sur­vey also re­vealed that women were in­ter­ested in learn­ing more about the safety and ef­fec­tive­ness of nat­u­ral ther­a­pies.

“Given that large num­bers of women use nat­u­ral ther­a­pies, this is an area that re­quires com­mu­ni­ca­tion of ev­i­dence-based in­for­ma­tion,” Dr Deeks said.

Women also want more in­for­ma­tion on poly­cys­tic ovar­ian syn­drome and do­mes­tic vi­o­lence, while health pro­fes­sion­als think women need more in­for­ma­tion about painful sex, brain health and ex­ces­sive sit­ting.

The sur­vey found women wanted more women’s health clin­ics and spe­cial­ist doc­tors, but not nec­es­sar­ily more women doc­tors.

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