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Almost 94,000 women are enrolled in the Women's Health Initiative
Observational Study. For an average of nearly eight years, they
have answered annual questionnaires about their health and
activities. Based on the data, researchers have found the
Physical activity is associated with a 30%–40% reduction in
risk for heart disease. Strenuous exercise and brisk walking
(about one mile per 15 minutes) confer the same degree of
Breast cancer rates are 18% lower in women who walk briskly
for 1.25–2.5 hours per week and even lower for women who
briskly walk 10 hours or more per week.
Summer's the season for fun in the sun—but also for skin cancer.
Of the three main types of skin cancer, melanoma is most deadly,
and basal cell, most common. Squamous cell cancer falls in
between. It's three times as common as melanoma (some 200,000 new
cases each year versus 62,000). Though not as common as basal
cell (about one million new cases a year), squamous cell is more
serious because it is likely to spread (metastasize). Treated
early, the cure rate is over 90%, but metastases occur in 1%–5%
of cases. After it has metastasized, it's very difficult to
Squamous cell cancer involves the runaway growth of
keratinocytes, cells in the outermost layer of skin, which
produce the protein keratin. Squamous means scaly; in 60%–80% of
cases, the lesions emerge on or near scaly patches called actinic
keratoses that develop from sun-damaged skin.
Typically, such lesions are hard (from the keratin),
well-defined, and occasionally crusty. Some you might mistake for
a wart, only flatter. And there are those that are soft and
fleshy. The pictures elsewhere on this Web page will give you an
idea of what some of them look like.
While the Women's Health Initiative study did not prove the
assumptions it set out to prove, its results have helped move
health care providers away from a standardized approach to
treating women's health issues.
Women who accumulate body fat around the waist are more likely to
need gallbladder surgery. Abdominal fat has a greater effect on
metabolism than other body fat, and is already associated with
Researchers have concluded that involving the unconscious mind in
complex decision-making results in better choices than using the
conscious mind alone.
Women who experience urinary incontinence may be able to
alleviate the problem by performing pelvic floor exercises, known
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The most common type of skin cancer, basal cell carcinoma is also the least serious. Treatment is usually effective, though there may be cosmetic issues if the cancer is in a visible area.