Our Bodies, Our Blog

The Not-So-Simple Task of Re-Thinking Certain Breast Cancer Treatments

By Christine Cupaiuolo |

Breast Cancer Action’s March newsletter (#100, congratulations!) covers why it’s so difficult to alter reliance on certain breast cancer treatments — even when there’s evidence to indicate the drug is not working.

Two factors cited by BCA Executive Director Barbara Brenner are longstanding attitudes about the best way to treat cancer (read: aggressively) and the pharmaceutical industry’s investment in particular drugs.

“Given this training, doctors probably fear giving up on a treatment that they think might help some patients,” writes Brenner. “Making a mistake could … Read

Lawsuit Dismissed Against Plan B

By Christine Cupaiuolo |

Meant to mention earlier that Plan B survived a lawsuit unscathed this month — a federal judge dismissed a suit that tried to reverse the FDA decision allowing sales of “morning-after” contraceptive pill without a prescription.

The suit was filed by the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons (a politically conservative group — read read about ’em at Well-Timed Period) and other anti-abortion groups, including the Family Research Council and Concerned Women for America.

The U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia … Read

Workplace Bullying

By Rachel Walden |

Workplace bullying has been receiving a fair bit of attention recently, mainly thanks to recent headlines proclaiming “workplace bullying worse than sexual harassment.” This news coverage was generated by a review presented at a bullying conference (sponsored in part by the American Psychological Association and National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health) at which Canadian researchers looked at studies on the two issues and concluded that workplace aggression had greater adverse effects on “work stress and physical, psychological and emotional well-being” than did … Read

Stolen Laptop Contains Patients’ Data

By Christine Cupaiuolo |

Rachel last week wrote a great post explaining what you need to know about medical trials — from costs to informed consent — and where to go to get other questions answered.

One question being asked now in Washington in the wake of a laptop theft is why protocols concerning patients’ privacy were not followed. From the Washington Post, which ran this story Monday on page 1:

A government laptop computer containing sensitive medical information on 2,500 patients enrolled in a National Institutes of … Read

Be BOLD for a Good Cause

By Christine Cupaiuolo |

BOLD is a very cool media arts/birth advocacy group that’s trying to win a $10,000 grant from Ideablob.com.

The organization’s play, “Birth,” is performed each year on, you guessed it, Labor Day. Here’s read about BOLD, from founder Karen Brody:

BOLD’s mission is to be a global movement to make maternity care mother-friendly through education, truth and action. While it was sparked by performances of my play, Birth, to inspire change BOLD is now much read than my play. […] At all our … Read

Our Daily Meds

By Rachel Walden |

Melody Petersen, who covered the drug industry for the New York Times for four years, has written a book on the topic, “Our Daily Meds: How the Pharmaceutical Companies Transformed Themselves Into Slick Marketing Machines and Hooked the Nation on Prescription Drugs,” Reviewed recently in the Times. The book examines the consequences of Americans’ dependency on prescription drugs, and looks at how pharmaceutical companies expand their sales by promoting direct-to-consumer advertising, providing freebies for physicians, ghostwriting research articles, and engaging in … Read

Double Dose: Pregnant Drug Users Arrested in Alabama; New Book on Global Birth Control; A Real Conversation on the CDC Study on STIs; Most Competitive Medical Residencies Are …

By Christine Cupaiuolo |

Alabama’s Response to Pregnant Drug Users: “Two worlds are colliding in this piney woods backcountry in southern Alabama: casual drug use and a local district attorney unsettled that children or fetuses might be affected by it. The result is an unusual burst of prosecutions in which young women using drugs are shocked to find themselves in the cross hairs for harming their children, even before giving birth,” reports The New York Times. The story continues:

Over an 18-month period, at least eight women have … Read

Barbara Seaman’s New York Times Legacy

By Christine Cupaiuolo |

When women’s health writer and activist Barbara Seaman died Feb. 27 of lung cancer, her death sent shockwaves through feminist and women’s health communities.

Also shocking was The New York Times story on Seaman’s death, which many My readers said they found insulting and mean-spirited.

The first half or so provides a fair, if limited, overview of Seaman’s work and the impact she had on the women’s health movement, which included co-founding the National Women’s Health Network in 1975. But it s … Read

What You Should Know About Clinical Trials

By Rachel Walden |

Responding to our recent post about clinical trials, a commenter mentioned informed consent and the questions women should ask before agreeing to participate in a trial. This is a timely topic today, with a CNN article asking, Did Tuskegee damage trust on clinical trials?,” as current protections for research subjects have really only been in place for a few decades (the history of women’s inclusion in trials is a topic for another day).

To understand your rights with regard to volunteering for a study, … Read

The Cost of Drugs: What Pharmaceutical Companies Are Doing to Get You to Buy Read

By Christine Cupaiuolo |

According to a new poll available at the Kaiser Family Foundation, four in 10 Americans — and half of those regularly taking at least one medication — report experiencing at least one of three cost-related concerns in their family:

16 percent say it is a “serious” problem to pay for prescription drugs; 29 percent say they have not filled a prescription in the past two years because of the cost; and 23 percent say they have cut pills in half or skipped doses in … Read