The world is getting smaller and lives are getting longer. But are they getting better?
Healthy women, hopeful future
The World Health Organization (WHO) believes women are the key to a safer, happier future: “Imagine for a moment the future as you’d like it to be…In the next 15 years, we can build stronger societies that are anchored by healthy, educated and empowered women.”1
Our efforts to support and improve women’s health are in line with the WHO’s Global Strategy for Women's, Children's and Adolescents' Health, 2016-2030, and its Every Woman, Every Child movement.
We can improve women’s access to healthcare and reduce preventable deaths. We can equip women to manage the range of conditions they face at every stage of their lives.
A woman who thrives and not only survives is a woman who can give back to her community2
Mapping out a healthy future
Every woman’s journey through life is her own, yet all face similar choices and challenges. At the brink of adulthood, girls explore which path to follow—or forge. As they grow into women, they start careers and consider having children. And as women reach their middle and senior years, they continue to refine their life’s road map.
For a woman to thrive, health is critical at every stage of this journey.
The standard of care for women has changed dramatically in recent years, thanks to innovative technologies and treatments across the entire women’s health spectrum. Improved access to healthcare means that women all over the world can now benefit from enhanced disease prevention, improved screening approaches, better diagnostic tests, and advanced therapies for breast, cervical, and ovarian cancers.
Each woman’s health needs are unique and shift throughout her lifetime. But understanding some of the general trends and learning to read the road signs along the way can keep women safe.
Prevention is the cure
Because prevention is far more effective than treatment, preteens are being vaccinated against HPV (human papillomavirus) before an infection sets in. Almost all cervical cancers are caused by a persistent high-risk HPV infection3. The good news is that vaccination, screening, and early treatment have made this illness one of the most preventable cancers.
Solutions for fertility and prenatal care
In a woman’s childbearing years, questions about fertility could arise. Problems conceiving affect 48.5 million couples globally4, but they are often treatable, leading to healthy, successful pregnancies.
During pregnancy, parents-to-be may wish to learn about prenatal testing, such as the non-invasive, DNA-based blood test for Down Syndrome. Gestational diabetes and preeclampsia are serious but preventable pregnancy complications if monitored and treated in time.
Navigating mid to later life
Ovarian cancer is sometimes silent, its symptoms appearing only when it’s too late. It is critical that women inform themselves about the risks and signs of ovarian cancer. Early detection can make all the difference in a woman’s battle with cancer.
Deteriorating bone density is often a threat for post-menopausal women, but there are steps that can be taken once she is diagnosed.
Breast cancer at any age
Breast cancer—the most common cancer among women (5)—can affect women of all ages. Being aware of risk factors and symptoms as well as having regular examinations can help women get ahead of their illness. And if breast cancer is diagnosed, knowing what to look for is the first step to beating it. Precise diagnostics linked with targeted therapies can significantly improve outcomes.
No matter what stage of life or part of the world a woman is in, knowledge is power.
We developed resources on female-specific health matters because when women ask questions, schedule checkups, and familiarise themselves with an issue, they are in a position of strength. When women educate themselves about the different diseases that affect them, they can participate in preventive or treatment decisions about their health, their bodies, their lives.
To improve quality of life for themselves and those around them, women need the right information, the right diagnosis, and the right treatment at the right moment for every stage of life.
A better future starts with healthy women.
- World Health Organization [Internet]. Global Strategy for Women's, Children's, and Adolescents' Health: Every Woman, Every Child. Available at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OFy4Rk9iUIk. Accessed September 2017.
- World Health Organization [Internet]. Every Woman, Every Child 2017 Progress Report. Introduction. Available at http://www.everywomaneverychild.org/. Accessed Sept 2017.
- World Health Organization [Internet]. Immunization, vaccines and biologicals: human papillomavirus (HPV) http://www.who.int/immunization/topics/hpv/en/ Accessed September 2017.
- World Health Organization [Internet]. Sexual and reproductive health: Global prevalence of infertility, infecundity and childlessness. Available at http://www.who.int/reproductivehealth/topics/infertility/burden/en/. Accessed September 2017.
- World Cancer Research Fund International [Internet]. Breast cancer statistics. http://www.wcrf.org/int/cancer-facts-figures/data-specific-cancers/breast-cancer-statistics. Accessed September 2017.