By age 50, an estimated 80 percent of American women will have benign tumors in their uterus, called uterine fibroids. Of these women, up to half will suffer heavy menstrual bleeding and period pain. Large fibroids, depending on their size and location in the uterus, can also cause debilitating pelvic pain, urinary symptoms, bowel dysfunction, pressure within the abdomen and on adjacent pelvic organs, and interference with a woman’s fertility.
Unfortunately, uterine fibroids – like the women who have them – receive scant attention and inadequate support considering the condition’s toll on patient health and its overall financial impact. In terms of women’s lives, uterine fibroids are most common in women ages 25-44 and disproportionately affect women of color who experience fibroids at an earlier age, have greater bleeding, experience more severe pelvic pain, and are more likely to undergo a hysterectomy. At the same time, uterine fibroids are a significant economic drain on the U.S. health care system. Women undergo over 250,000 hospitalizations each year to treat uterine fibroids and the condition accounts for about one-third of hysterectomies in the U.S. Accordingly, some estimates put the cost of uterine fibroids, including lost work and disability, at between $5.9 billion to $34.4 billion annually.
Due to the many women affected and the number of hysterectomies associated with uterine fibroids, the National Institutes of Health considers this condition a public health concern requiring greater attention and action. Today, uterine fibroids are significantly under-diagnosed, under-treated and under-studied. As a result, too many women suffer for years in silence without getting an accurate diagnosis and timely medical treatment.
Who We Are
CARE About Fibroids is a Washington, DC-based nonprofit whose mission is to elevate uterine fibroids as a women’s health issue and drive change. Bringing together many of the nation’s most respected women’s health advocacy and policy-focused organizations to advance solutions, CARE About Fibroids is a catalyst for increased awareness, research and education about uterine fibroids, leading to earlier diagnosis and improved treatment.
CARE About Fibroids has two levels of membership – a small Steering Committee of national organizations working in women’s health, and a broad-based General Membership of stakeholder organizations. The Steering Committee is comprised of leaders from women’s health organizations who are responsible for overall agenda-setting and determining program priorities. There are no dues for members.
The mission of CARE About Fibroids is to mobilize a broad spectrum of women’s health advocates to build greater awareness of uterine fibroids and create a sense of urgency around the need for improved diagnosis, expanded and better treatment options, and enhanced patient access to care. Specifically, the organization is committed to four pillars of purpose:
Community – In partnership with existing women’s health stakeholders, we will create a strong community of patients, their loved ones, and their health providers to give voice to the struggles of women with debilitating uterine fibroids and to stand united for improving the diagnosis and treatment of this condition.
Action – Through alliance with others, and the use of communications and outreach, we will take decisive action to increase public and stakeholder awareness as a means to advance broad policies and discrete decisions that will improve the care of women with uterine fibroids.
Research – We will work to promote increased investment for research into new treatments and mechanisms for earlier diagnosis of women with uterine fibroids.
Education – With the goal of empowering more informed patients, care providers, and decision makers in the health care sector, we will serve as an educational resource on uterine fibroids for all stakeholders. This will entail acting as a clearinghouse of evidence-based information on uterine fibroids, publishing new reports and findings, and convening scholars and respected voices in the field.