Snapshots from the Women’s Health Initiative Observational Study

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 following: 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 benefit. 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. (Locked) More »

Squamous cell carcinoma: The skin cancer you haven’t heard about

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 treat. 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. (Locked) More »

Women's Health Initiative: Not over yet

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. (Locked) More »