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  • Writer's picturelizferrell

Women’s Health: How It’s Different

By Liz Ferrell, Development and Community Relations Coordinator


Every year during the month of May, HOPE Family Health celebrates and promotes Women’s Health Awareness. At HOPE, we understand that women have unique health risks and needs, and we offer services to address those needs, provided by a highly qualified and caring staff.



Adulthood and cancer risks. As a woman grows into adulthood, navigates her childbearing years, then enters menopause, she faces certain cancer risks: some that men also share, such as colorectal and lung cancer, but some risks specific to females, including endometrial, cervical and ovarian cancers. Additionally, breast cancer, while not exclusive to women, will affect 13 percent (one in eight) of all women, while male breast cancer comprises less than one percent of all cancers.

Did you know…?

  • Breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer among Tennessee women. According to information from the federally funded Tennessee Breast and Cervical Screening Program (TBCSP), every day 14 women in Tennessee will be diagnosed with breast cancer, and three women will die from it.

  • Cervical cancer also poses a deadly risk. Every day, one woman in Tennessee is diagnosed with cervical cancer; every three days one woman dies from it.

  • Black and Hispanic women suffer disproportionately from breast and cervical cancers. Black and Hispanic women are more likely than women of other races and ethnicities to be diagnosed with breast or cervical cancer, and at a later stage of the disease; they are also more likely to die from the disease.

  • HOPE offers breast and cervical screenings through the federally funded Tennessee Breast and Cervical Screening Program (TBCSP). In fact, HOPE ranks fourth statewide among all participating providers in the number of patients treated through TBCSP!

Studies indicate that early access is crucial to diagnosing and treating cancer effectively. Early detection saves lives! The earlier a medical condition is detected, the better the treatment options and the better their chances of success. TBCSP provides crucial timely breast and cervical cancer screening and diagnostic services for low income, uninsured women who otherwise might not be able to afford preventative cancer screening. Since becoming a TBCSP participant in July 2022, HOPE’s staff has identified several patients as being at high risk for breast or cervical cancer. We were also able to identify and diagnose breast or cervical cancer in a small percentage of patients while the cancer was still in its early stages of development. 



Women and Heart Disease. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the number one cause of death in women remains the same as it is for men: heart disease.


Did you know…?


In 2021 heart disease killed one in five women. Some types of heart disease include coronary artery disease, arrhythmia, and heart failure.

  • Symptoms. Common symptoms for women who might be suffering from heart disease include angina, usually felt as a dull or heavy chest discomfort or ache; pain in the neck, jaw, or throat; pain in the upper abdomen or back; nausea or vomiting; and excessive, persistent fatigue. Women often experience a wider array of heart disease symptoms than men, with often deceptively mild symptoms such as lightheadedness and clamminess, that can be easily attributed to other factors. 

  • Risk factors. Risk factors for heart disease include high LDL (low-density lipoprotein) cholesterol, smoking, diabetes, excess weight, an unhealthy diet, physical inactivity, habitually drinking too much alcohol, and behavioral health issues like stress or depression.

  • Risk reduction. You can reduce these risks by knowing your blood pressure and cholesterol through regular self-monitoring; by working with your provider to control blood pressure and cholesterol through diet and exercise; through healthy diet and exercise (at least 150 minutes per week); by not smoking and limiting alcohol; and by learning to manage stress and its sources.



Women and Mental Health. Just as women’s physical needs are different from men’s, so are their mental health needs.


Did you know…?


  • Depression, anxiety and eating disorders are more common in women than in men. Additionally, women are prone to experience depression related to fluctuating hormone levels, including around the time of their menstrual period, during and after pregnancy, and during the transition into menopause.

  • HOPE offers a range of behavioral health services. HOPE’s thriving Behavioral Health Department staff includes psychiatric nurse practitioners and licensed counselors trained to provide counseling, including for trauma therapy; treatment for a range of behavioral health diagnoses; and medication management.


HOPE’s Additional Services. At HOPE Family Health, our excellent providers seek to bring a range of healthcare services to women as part of our mission: to save lives and improve quality of life by making healthcare accessible and affordable to as many people as possible throughout HOPE’s service area. We take care of women from all walks of life, those who have third-party insurance, those with TennCare or Medicare, and those without insurance.  We make the healthcare needs of our patients our priority.


Did you know…?


  • HOPE offers basic gynecological services in addition to thorough physical examinations and lab work for overall wellness. HOPE offers well-woman exams for women aged 21 and older, including screenings for cervical and breast cancer as part of an overall wellness exam that also includes blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar screenings, as appropriate, for cardiac wellness.

  • HOPE offers family planning services.  HOPE offers numerous methods of birth control, including oral birth control, long-acting reversible contraceptives such as Nexplanon (an implant in your arm) and IUDs, and Depo-Provera shots. Your provider will talk with you to help you choose the best option for you based on your age, lifestyle, future plans, medical conditions, and other factors.

  • HOPE tests for and treats sexually transmitted diseases. HOPE offers a range of STD testing, either through urine or blood samples or via PAP smear.

  • By far the most effective way to reduce cancer risk is through early screening. HOPE offers various screening services, including colorectal, breast and cervical cancer screenings, to help with early diagnoses. Additionally, HOPE Westmoreland will offer mammography screening starting in June 2024.



Whatever your healthcare needs, HOPE is here for you! Talk to your HOPE provider today about diagnostic screenings; developing an integrated care plan tailored to your health needs and goals; navigating pharmaceutical needs and medication management; access to behavioral health counseling and tools to assist with tobacco cessation and stress management; and much more.



Learn more here.






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