Dr. Nancy C. Lee Joins CARE About Fibroids

April 11, 2018

CARE (Community, Action, Research, and Education) About Fibroids (careaboutfibroids.org), a nonprofit women’s health organization dedicated to increasing awareness of uterine fibroids, today announced that renowned women’s health expert Nancy C. Lee, M.D. will serve as the group’s Senior Policy Advisor. With the addition of Dr. Lee, CARE About Fibroids is elevating its stature as an emerging force in the mobilization of women’s health advocacy organizations to build greater awareness of uterine fibroids, as well as a sense of urgency around the need for improved diagnosis, expanded and better treatment options, and enhanced patient access to appropriate care.

“We are thrilled to have attracted the interest and commitment of someone so uniquely talented, experienced, and knowledgeable as Dr. Nancy Lee,” stated Jenny Rosenberg, the nonprofit organization’s Executive Director. “Coupled with the incredible women’s health leaders on our Steering Committee, Dr. Lee’s dynamism and stellar reputation is setting us on a course to succeed in truly improving the lives of millions of our mothers, sisters, and daughters suffering with uterine fibroids.”

Dr. Lee served at the Department of Health and Human Services for 28 years, most recently as the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Women’s Health and Director of the Office on Women’s Health (OWH) at the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). 

Dr. Lee’s focus at HHS included the promotion of implementation of the Affordable Care Act and focusing on women’s preventive services, women’s health across the lifespan, and strategies to prevent violence against women. Prior to her OWH tenure, Dr. Lee spent more than twenty years with research and public health efforts at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) focused on cancer screening, the epidemiology of reproductive system cancers, safety of contraceptive methods, and HIV infection among American women.

“Partnering with CARE About Fibroids is a great opportunity to help women with uterine fibroids become better educated about this condition as well as their care and treatment options, so that ultimately, they can live healthier lives,” said Dr. Lee (@NancyLeeMD). “I am looking forward to supporting the organization and its diverse Steering Committee in their mission to raise awareness of uterine fibroids.”

Over the course of her career, Dr. Lee has consulted with the National Cancer Institute, the Food and Drug Administration, the American Cancer Society, the Institute of Medicine, Planned Parenthood Federation of America, the World Health Organization, and the Agency for International Development. She participated in research projects in Africa, China, Central America, and Southeast Asia. She also has extensive experience in reproductive health, surveillance systems, cancer prevention and control, and has published over 100 articles in scientific journals. 

Dr. Lee received a B.A. in mathematics (summa cum laude) from the University of Texas, and an M.D. (cum laude) from Baylor College of Medicine. She completed her residency training at the University of Pennsylvania and was board-certified in internal medicine.

About Uterine Fibroids

CARE About Fibroids has launched its resource at a time when estimates are that between 70 percent and 80 percent of women will have uterine fibroids by the age of 50. Yet, due to lack of awareness or the belief that fibroids are a problem to be endured, many women go undiagnosed and untreated. 

Among women in the U.S., uterine fibroids are significantly under-diagnosed and under-treated, despite being declared a public health burden by the National Institute of Health (NIH). Collectively, the price tag of symptomatic uterine fibroids, including lost work and disability, approaches $34 billion a year.

According to recent studies, women with “symptomatic” fibroids wait, on average, more than three years before seeing a doctor and almost a third wait up to five years. This lag can result in anemia, urinary tract infections, urinary obstruction, and kidney damage as well as cause women to experience body-issue anxieties, lower self-esteem, and worries about relationships and sexuality.

The problem is especially important for black women because, compared to other American women, African-American women are three times more likely to develop fibroids, experience them at an earlier age, experience twice the pelvic pain and swelling, and have three times the rate of anemia caused by the fibroids. As a result, black women also have four times higher rates of hospitalizations and are three times more likely to undergo a hysterectomy. Similarly, myomectomy — the other form of fibroid surgery that leaves the uterus in place — is about seven times more common among African-American women.

In terms of the economic impact, more than $9 billion is spent annually for surgery, hospital admissions, outpatient visits, medications, and other direct medical costs for fibroid treatment. Symptomatic fibroids cost the economy $17 billion annually in absenteeism, lost work, and short-term disability. An additional $8 billion is spent annually on fibroid related pregnancy complications.

CARE About Fibroids is Sparking a National Dialogue on Uterine Fibroids

CARE About Fibroids is taking the lead in mobilizing women’s health advocacy and policy-focused organizations to build greater awareness of uterine fibroids, as well as a sense of urgency around the need for improved diagnosis, expanded and better treatment options, and enhanced patient access to appropriate care. 

CARE About Fibroids is headquartered in Washington, DC, under the direction of its Executive Director, Jenny Rosenberg, and a Steering Committee of leading independent nonprofit patient/consumer organizations focused on women’s health. Currently, the steering committee is comprised of (in alphabetical order): The Black Women’s Health Imperative, COSHAR Healthy Communities Foundation, HealthyWomen, and To Know Is To Know.

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