Women’s Health Collective Canada is working to bring menopause out of the shadows by championing women’s focused medical research. We want to equip women and their health care providers with accurate information about their health and encourage open conversations.
Menopause is a natural and expected stage of life, but it has been shrouded in silence due to cultural taboos about women’s pelvic health. In turn, menstrual health research has suffered.
According to the BC Women’s Health Foundation:
“[H]istorically, women were largely excluded from medical trials. Failure to consider sex and gender in health research, by relying on men’s health as a proxy, effectively leaves women’s health to chance.”
This silence extends to patients themselves. A study from the Alberta Women’s Health Foundation found that menopause reticence has far-reaching consequences.
Unsure what to expect from menopause, or what falls within a healthy range of symptoms, women can sometimes suffer in silence. Pain is widely accepted as a “normal” part of female existence when it can often be treated. With the line between normal and concerning obscured, early detection of cancer becomes more difficult, negatively affecting prognoses.
Our amazing researchers are working to counter this by enlightening the medical field on the complexities and considerations associated with menopause. Some of our WHCC associated researchers working across Canada right now include:
Dr. Lesa Dawson is a gynecologic oncologist and Clinical Associate Professor in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the University of British Columbia and an Associate Professor in Memorial University’s Faculty of Medicine. Her research focuses on gynecologic cancer prevention for BRCA and Lynch Syndrome families. Her research is focused on cancer survivorship, equity in women’s health and population-based testing for hereditary cancer predisposition. She leads the Gynecologic Oncology Survivorship Clinic, which delivers personalized cancer prevention and menopause care for high-risk women.
Dr. Michelle Jacobson directs the Familial Ovarian Cancer Clinic at Women’s College Hospital in Toronto. She is a menopause specialist with an interest in menopause oncology and Hereditary Breast and Ovarian Cancer Syndrome. Dr. Jacobson’s research is especially interested “in women who are prematurely menopausal due to cancer therapies and women with hereditary breast and ovarian cancer syndromes.”
Dr. Nese Yuksel is a Professor of Faculty of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences at the University of Alberta. Her research program seeks to study aspects of women’s health, including “reproductive health and menopause to enhance our understanding women’s perspectives and improve the quality of care of women.” Her research program also looks to translate knowledge “through the development of evidence-based practice tools and resources in the areas of reproductive health, menopause and osteoporosis to support women and health care providers.”