Current Health Topics

Breast Cancer Awareness Month

According to the CDC, in 2005 186,467 women and 1,764 men were diagnosed with breast cancer. Of those, 41,116 women and 375 men died from breast cancer. This month is breast cancer awareness month. With this we would like to provide you with resources to help you understand breast cancer, how to protect yourself and way to prevent breast cancer.

Breast cancer can have detrimental effects on the person diagnosed with it, as well as family and friends involved. The American Cancer Society projects for 2009, about 192,370 new cases of invasive breast cancer will be diagnosed in women. About 62,280 new cases of carcinoma in situ (CIS) will be diagnosed (CIS is non-invasive and is the earliest form of breast cancer) Also about 40,170 women will die from breast cancer.

Source: U.S. Cancer Statistics Working Group. United States Cancer Statistics: 1999–2005 Incidence and Mortality Web-based Report. Atlanta (GA): Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and National Cancer Institute; 2009. Available at:

FDA Approves ella™ Tablets for Prescription Emergency Contraception

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration recently approved ella™ (ulipristal acetate) tablets for emergency contraception. The prescription-only product prevents pregnancy when taken orally within 120 hours (five days) after a contraceptive failure or unprotected intercourse. It is not intended for routine use as a contraceptive.

ella is a progesterone agonist/antagonist whose likely main effect is to inhibit or delay ovulation. Since May 2009, the prescription product has been available in Europe under the brand name ellaOne.

An FDA Advisory Committee for Reproductive Health Drugs discussed ella in June, 2010. The committee unanimously voted that the application for ella provided compelling data on efficacy and sufficient information on safety for the proposed indication of emergency contraception.

Free Online Smoking Cessation Tool Available

For smokers committed to quitting, the website includes a free comprehensive quit plan with tools and information designed in collaboration with the Mayo Clinic and with input from former and current smokers. The site helps smokers select a quit-smoking date, develop personalized quit plans and find online support from other smokers who are going through the same struggle. There are more than 250,000 smokers registered on the site and nearly 330 customized support groups where smokers share stories and encouragement. You can help by listing as a resource on your website or promoting it locally. For more information contact Bill Furmanski at (202) 454-5777 or