Women’s health

Our pharmaceutical and diagnostic product portfolio at Roche provides women and their physicians with additional insights into critical health issues. This allows for more informed decisions, precise steps for prevention, early detection and treatment at every stage of a woman’s life.

Detecting a virus that causes cancer

Cervical cancer is the third most common cancer in women worldwide[1], but has become one of the most preventable forms of cancer if detected early.[2] It has been discovered that almost 99% of cervical cancers are caused by persistent infection of HPV, which can generate abnormal cell growth. With that knowledge molecular screening technology was advanced to detect that virus and vaccine programmes were developed.[3] The Roche cobas HPV test is currently the first and only FDA-approved test for use in primary screening for women aged 25 and older. It detects the DNA of the two most aggressive strains of HPV, which cause 70% of all cervical cancers. There is a high cure rate when cervical cancer is detected and managed at the very earliest stage.

How this can be translated into clinical practice

New ways to tackle a disease

Every minute a woman dies of breast cancer. We at Roche have been leading research into breast cancer for decades, and we remain committed to finding new ways to tackle the disease with the goal of improving patient outcomes and bringing them closer to cure. But breast cancer isn’t just one disease. It can be classified into three different types (HER2-positive, Hormone receptor positive and triple negative). Knowing which type of breast cancer a patient has can help guide decisions about which treatment are most suitable. Roche’s combined strengths in pharmaceuticals and diagnostics along with advances in science and technology have made personalised healthcare for patients possible.

How Roche supports breast cancer awareness campaigns in developing regions

Key information for and during pregnancy

The average age of first-time mothers is rising and fertility rates are declining. Thus, there is an increasing need for information that supports family planning through natural conception or artificial reproductive technologies. The anti-Müllerian hormone (AMH) is an important fertility marker used to assess ovarian reserve levels. The Roche Elecsys AMH test is a simple blood test that can be performed during any day of the menstrual cycle.

Preeclampsia is a serious pregnancy complication usually occurring after 20 weeks of pregnancy. It is one of the leading causes of death and complications for mothers and their unborn babies and cannot be treated—the only cure is delivery of the baby. Recognising that early detection and effective care can vastly reduce the number of preeclampsia-related deaths, a novel preeclampsia test has been developed that measures the two proteins found in the mother’s blood. The Elecsys sFlt-1/PIGF immunoassay ratio test predicts or rules out the short-term risk of developing the disease in women with suspected preeclampsia.[4]

Gestational diabetes with high blood glucose (hyperglycaemia) is among the most common health problems during pregnancy. Hyperglycaemia that is not properly managed can result in birth complications that can affect both mother and child. Our Accu-Chek diabetes management solutions offer accurate and reliable blood glucose monitoring systems, diabetes management software solutions, and education programmes. Along with a healthy diet, moderate exercise and, if necessary, insulin therapy, these tools can help keep blood glucose levels in a healthy range.

Maintaining the wellbeing of women

Following menopause, disruption to the balance of bone breakdown and new bone formation can cause women to lose bone faster than it is rebuilt. The bones can then become brittle and more easily broken. Our menu of bone tests provides an earlier and more complete assessment of osteoporosis therapy efficacy than bone mineral densitometry tests alone.

[1]Globocan 2012 (Global cancer statistics), published in 2015: Ca Cancer J Clin, 2015.

[2] http://globocan.iarc.fr/old/FactSheets/cancers/cervix-new.asp

[3] WHO, Globocan 2012. Estimated Cancer Incidence. Fact sheets, 2016.

[4] Zeisler H. et al. Predictive value of the sFlt-1:PlGF ratio in women with suspected preeclampsia. N Engl J Med, 2016.