Senator Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) and Representative Stephanie Tubbs Jones (D-OH) introduced legislation in the Senate and House yesterday to increase funding for uterine fibroid research and to begin an educational campaign for women and their doctors. The Uterine Fibroid Research and Education Act would authorize $30 million in research funding for the National Institutes of Health, which is double the amount currently authorized for uterine fibroid research. Furthermore, the bill creates an educational program for women and their doctors concerning alternative treatments for fibroids.
Approximately 75 percent of women develop uterine fibroids at some point, and about 25 percent seek treatment. However, Senator Mikulski said, “Right now, hysterectomy is the most common treatment for uterine fibroids. Women deserve better…I have been fighting to make sure women don’t get left out or left behind when it comes to their health.” The legislation states that currently, one-third of women have hysterectomies to treat fibroids without discussing any alternatives with their doctors. Less extreme treatments for fibroids include embolization, a minimally invasive procedure. Furthermore, the drug mifepristone has shown promise as a nonsurgical, low side-effect treatment for uterine fibroids.