Together with Acessa Health Inc., the White Dress Project has launched the Goodbye Fibroids initiative to unite women, doctors and political leaders in order to raise awareness of and improve care for women living with fibroids.
Recently, the two groups made a presentation at the Congressional Black Caucus’ Annual Legislative Conference to discuss how women of different races are not receiving the same quality of fibroid care. As Acessa Health CEO Kim Rodriguez pointed out, “Unfortunately, there is a well-established racial barrier to women receiving less invasive alternatives to hysterectomy.” In other words, though black women have a much higher risk of developing these non-cancerous uterine tumors, they are much less likely to receive information about the full range of fibroid treatment options, including minimally invasive procedures like Uterine Fibroid Embolization.
The facts are clear (and upsetting): among women who elected to have hysterectomies to treat their fibroids, African American women were less likely to receive a minimally invasive surgery compared to white women. They were also 40% more likely to develop complications, nearly three times as likely to have an extended hospital stay, and three times as likely to die after their procedures.
While these are statistics for hysterectomies, they don’t even begin to explore other fibroid treatment options—which likely means that women aren’t even being informed about hysterectomy alternatives.
Tanika Gray Valbrun, founder of The White Dress Project, told the Black Caucus, “As a community we need to begin to address and change the clear, systematic and structural defect within the US healthcare system that disproportionately pushes women of color toward the most invasive option, which is hysterectomy.”
As interventional radiologists in Houston, we could not agree more. We applaud the Goodbye Fibroids movement, and have ourselves been promoting #FibroidFix, a campaign to make all women aware of all the available treatment options for fibroids, particularly the ones that will preserve their fertility and minimize the risk of surgical complications. Will you join us in spreading the word? Please share this information with all your female friends and help us and the Goodbye Fibroids team make better healthcare accessible to every woman in this country.