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The fibroid fix

The fibroid fix: What women need to know

Uterine fibroid embolization avoids surgery, preserves the uterus, controls symptoms and improves quality of life.

The report

MANY women diagnosed with uterine fibroids are not being given the information they need to make informed decisions about their health.

Read The fibroid fix: What women need to know.


Executive summary

Most women will develop uterine fibroids by the age of 50, but more than half of U.S. women (57 percent) do not think they are at risk, according to a new survey conducted online by Harris Poll on behalf of the Society of Interventional Radiology.

While some women may not experience symptoms,for others, the physical effects and bleeding that can result from the condition can be debilitating. Women with fibroids often face pelvic pain, diminished sex life and declining energy levels. These experiences go beyond discomfort and result in many women feeling a sense of hopelessness and a perception that their uterine fibroids are controlling their lives.

Women with fibroids may be embarrassed by the condition and unwilling to share their experiences with others. In fact, despite the high prevalence of the condition, results of this poll show that more than one-third of women (37 percent)have not personally been diagnosed, nor do they know anyone who has been diagnosed with uterine fibroids. The silence around the condition contributes to the lack of knowledge and the limited awareness of treatments, with one in five women in the United States (20 percent) believing that the only treatment is hysterectomy, the complete removal of the uterus.


Some women might feel comfortable with that option, but others, especially those who want to preserve their uterus, may decide to live with their symptoms instead of pursuing treatment because they are unaware a minimally invasive treatment exists—uterine fibroid embolization, or UFE. UFE is a non-surgical treatment, performed by interventional radiologists. Through a tiny incision in the skin, and image guidance, a catheter is used to deliver tiny particles that block the blood vessels leading to the fibroids, causing them to shrink and die. UFE produces less pain and has a shorter recovery period than surgical treatments, but a majority of women (62 percent) have never heard of it, despite more than 20 years of clinical use.

Even those with fibroids struggle to get a clear understanding of the available treatment options, and more than two in five women who have been diagnosed with uterine fibroids (44 percent) have never heard of UFE. In fact, 73 percent of women who have heard of UFE did not first learn of it from their OB-GYN, the frontline provider of fibroid
treatment.

It is a disservice to women to not provide all the information needed for an informed decision. For women and their health care professionals who are weighing options to treat uterine fibroids, this report provides important information about UFE and the factors women should consider in choosing their treatment.

Methodology

SIR commissioned a poll, conducted online by Harris Poll between June 23 and

27, 2017 among 1,176 U.S. women ages 18 and over, to better understand awareness of uterine fibroids and treatment options. Because the sample is based on those who agreed to participate in the Harris Poll panel, no estimates of theoretical sampling error can be calculated. (For subgroup sample sizes and weighting variables, please contact Tamara Moore)

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The fibroid fix: Share your story

Women suffering from uterine fibroids are not only looking for relief from their symptoms. They have multiple factors to consider. 

Whatever the reason, UFE provides women many benefi ts not found with more invasive treatments. Clinicians need to take these factors into account so that, when possible, patients can avoid surgery.

UFE Share your story graphic

Share your story

What is interventional radiology?

Interventional radiology (also known as IR) is the minimally invasive, image-guided treatment of medical conditions that once required open surgery.

Learn more

Find a UFE specialist

To treat uterine fibroids, board-certified interventional radiologists can deliver minimally invasive treatments with less risk, less pain and less recovery time than traditional surgery. With SIR's Doctor Finder, the most comprehensive database of interventional radiologists practicing in the United States and internationally, you can search based on expertise (uterine fibroid treatments), geographic location or by state or country. If you already know the name of an IR in your area, you can enter their last name.

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