Category: Living Well Published on Monday, 03 September 2012 18:55 Written by Jackie Berg
No one likes to be the odd man out. And today, there’s no reason to be. While African Americans were once excluded from participation in groundbreaking medical research, there are now a sizable number of important studies underway specifically focused on minority populations. The problem is, there’s not much interest in participating in such efforts. We need to change that, because, in many cases, the odds of being diagnosed with life-threatening illnesses are not favorable for African Americans.
NEW STUDIES, NEW HOPE
While an estimated two-thirds of women will develop uterine fibroids by age 50, African American women are three times more likely to develop them than other ethnic populations. That’s why Henry Ford Health System is recruiting Black women —ages 23 to 34 — to participate in a first-of-its-kind research study to learn how fibroids develop, what factors may trigger them and how to prevent health problems caused by them. Eligible participants, who have never been diagnosed with fibroids, will be followed for a five-year period and paid $700 for their participation. Although researchers don’t know what causes fibroids, they believe it could be related to hormonal and genetic factors, according to Ganesa Wegienka, Ph.D., a Henry Ford epidemiologist and the study’s site principal investigator.
Wegienka hopes that the data collected from the study will provide some insight into the causes of fibroids and the health disparity that accompanies them. Fibroids are noncancerous tumors of the uterus that typically develop in women in their 20s and 30s. Symptoms can include heavy menstrual bleeding, frequent urination and lower back pain. An estimated one in five African American women undergo a hysterectomy due to fibroids compared to one in 15 white women. Good reason to participate.
Editor’s Note: If you are interested in participating in this study, funded by the National Institutes of Health, call 1.877.692.SELF (7353) or visit www.DetroitSELF.org to enroll.
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