Women's Health Initiative Extended

L: Diane Sell, Clinical Manager, Phoenix Site.  M: dr G.  R: Dr. Tamsen Bassford, Prinicipal Investigator, Arizona Women’s Health Initiative.


     At 10:00 am, 21 February 2005, the Women’s Health Initiative Phoenix Site held a reception at the North Phoenix Baptist Church to thank its clinical trial and observation participants who volunteered time, information and valuable data towards learning more about women’s health.  These women 50 years and older, started coming as early as 1994 to the Phoenix Site’s office which was one of many across the USA. It is a part of the University of Arizona Site of the Arizona Women’s Health Initiative Study.  The first woman in the nationwide NIH funded study joined in October 1993.  She was one of 161,000 women in the country who participated in what was to be a fifteen year study about the most common problems during menopause and beyond.  (See for details.)  Different ethnic, social and educational backgrounds were represented providing a truly diverse source of data.

     The study received national media attention in July of 2002 when WHI announced that participants in the Estrogen and Progestin study were told to stop taking their study pills because the risks were determined to outweigh the benefits.  These women receiving both Estrogen and Progestin had an increased rate of heart attacks, strokes, breast cancers and blood clots. Those on Estrogen alone (no Progestin) were later asked to stop taking their study pills due to an increased incidence of strokes.  Women on the Estrogen and Progestin study had fewer hip fractures, an increase in bone density within three years, and fewer colorectal and endometrial (uterine lining) carcinoma compared to those on placebo pills.  An associated study, The Women’s Health Initiative Memory Study, found that participants taking hormones had a higher risk of Dementia.

     The major results of the Dietary Study are not well known at this time.  However, after only one year of trial, fat intake of the dietary intervention group participants dramatically dropped.  In early 2006. the effect of a low fat diet on breast cancer, colorectal cancer and cardiovascular disease will be published.

     In early 2005, WHI participants were given the option of signing up for a five year follow up by mail.  We shall miss the members of the staff.  It was difficult to find the time to go back for clinic visits but it was really fun and a great honor to participate in this historic study.  Today, we the graduates were appreciated and thanked for our contributions.  However, we do have to continue with the paperwork and provide results of tests that we are expected to have done.  The investigators and staff will continue to sort all the data.  Furthermore, blood samples taken from us through the years and stored shall be studied in more detail and degree of sophistication in private laboratories to learn about early detection of risks for the usual and the unique disorders that can occur in the menopausal woman.  It is  our gift to our fellow women, children and future generations of the USA and the whole world.


Magdalena D. Guerrero, M.D., F.A.C.O.G./GP, retired (dr G)


Construction started 21 February 2005

Last updated 24 March 2005

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Magdalena D. Guerrero, M.D