Supermodel Beverly Johnson Speaks Out to End Silence About Uterine Fibroids

Tue Sep 9, 2008 8:02am EDT

* Reuters is not responsible for the content in this press release.

Beverly's Personal Experience Drives New Ask 4 Tell 4 Campaign To Help Women
Seek Treatment for Common and Often Painful Health Condition

ROCKLAND, Mass., Sept. 9 /PRNewswire/ -- Supermodel Beverly Johnson is on
a mission to get women to Ask 4 questions and Tell 4 or more others about a
health condition faced by up to 75 percent of all women in the U.S.(1):
uterine fibroids.  Although uterine fibroids are common, many women remain
uninformed about this condition, and a majority wait up to a year before
finding treatment, often despite pain, heavy bleeding and weight gain.
Beverly did, and now she is sharing her story to ensure that other women not
only avoid silent suffering, but actively seek suitable treatment options now.
Women can read Beverly's personal story and learn more about uterine fibroids
and their treatment at http://www.ask4tell4.com.
    "It is my personal mission to help ensure that women are informed about
uterine fibroids and feel empowered, if they think they have fibroids or are
diagnosed with them, to talk with their healthcare providers about their
treatment options," said Beverly Johnson.  "When I was diagnosed with uterine
fibroids, I didn't know a lot about the condition, and as a result I suffered
for a long time, both physically and emotionally.  My hope is that women will
not be embarrassed to talk about uterine fibroids or afraid to discuss
treatment options with their doctors."
    Lack of information about uterine fibroids and treatment options can have
serious consequences for a woman's health and quality of life.  According to a
national survey*, less than half of the women surveyed could identify
non-surgical and uterine sparing options for fibroids.  Left untreated,
fibroids can cause heavy bleeding, pelvic pain, enlargement of the abdomen,
and can lead to reproductive problems.
    "Many women silently accept symptoms of uterine fibroids as an unfortunate
fact of life, or the result of aging.  Others hesitate to discuss their
condition because they fear that major surgery is their only treatment option.
It is not," said Linda Bradley, M.D., Chair of the OB/GYN Section of the
National Medical Association and Vice Chair of Obstetrics, Gynecology, and
Women's Health Institute at the Cleveland Clinic.  "Women who have uterine
fibroid tumors should know that many treatments are available that can ease
their pain and symptoms.  While hysterectomy has been the standard surgical
treatment for many years, technology has advanced and a number of
clinically-proven, non-surgical and uterine-sparing procedures are widely
available."
    Beverly's Story
    Beverly developed uterine fibroids in her 30s, and for years faced
symptoms including heavy bleeding, abdominal pain, fatigue and emotional
stress.  After attempting to manage her symptoms with diet and acupuncture,
she consulted with two doctors; both recommended she get a hysterectomy.
Unfortunately, Beverly didn't fully understand what a hysterectomy entailed,
and she suffered severe complications from the surgery.  It took several years
of recovery and hormone replacement therapy for her to get her body and life
back in balance.
    Beverly hopes her willingness to share her story will encourage women to
learn about the variety of uterine fibroid treatment options available today,
so they can play a more active role in talking with their doctors to select
the treatment that best suits their condition and lifestyle.
    Ask4Tell4.com
    Beverly's new Web site, Ask4Tell4.com, highlights the four questions she
thinks all women should ask themselves and their healthcare provider about
uterine fibroids, whether they currently have the condition or not.  The site
also includes the answers to these questions and information about a variety
of treatment options that will help them have a more informed discussion with
their doctor.  Additionally, women can join Beverly's cause by sharing the
information with four or more of their friends or family members through an
instant email message sent from the Web site.
    The Ask4Tell4 campaign is sponsored by BioSphere Medical, Inc.  BioSphere
is a pioneer in commercializing minimally invasive therapeutic applications
based on proprietary bioengineered microsphere technology.  BioSphere's
principal focus is the treatment of symptomatic uterine fibroids using a
procedure called uterine fibroid embolization, or UFE.
    * Survey cited was also sponsored by BioSphere and conducted by Caravan
      Research Corporation.  The survey was conducted via telephone to 1,000
      women during July 2007.

    (1) Day Baird D, Dunson DB, Hill MC, Cousins D, Schectman JM.  High
        cumulative incidence of uterine leiomyoma in black and white women:
        ultrasound evidence.  Am J Obstet Gynecol 2003;188:100-7

SOURCE  Ask4Tell4.com

Alyson Cavalere of Fleishman-Hillard, Inc., +1-617-692-0510,
alyson.cavalere@fleishman.com, for Ask4Tell4.com; or Sandi Duxbury of
BioSphere Medical, Inc., +1-781-681-7951, sduxbury@biospheremed.com
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