Newswise — The Society for Women's Health Research announced its top five women's health stories of 2007 today. The list covers advances of particular interest to women and new sex-specific treatments.

"The medical news in 2007 show how important it is that researchers continue to focus on women's health and sex differences," said Phyllis Greenberger, M.S.W, president and CEO of the Society for Women's Health Research, a Washington, D.C., based advocacy organization. "We applaud the Gynecologic Cancer Foundation for forging a national consensus on ovarian cancer symptoms. And we commend cardiologists working to answer questions about sex differences in heart disease. We look forward to more advances in 2008."

The top women's health stories of 2007 as determined by the Society for Women's Health Research are:

1. First Consensus on Ovarian Cancer SymptomsThe Gynecologic Cancer Foundation (GCF) announced in June the first national consensus on ovarian cancer symptoms. Ovarian cancer has been long considered a silent killer because of the perceived lack of warning signs. According to GCF, ovarian cancer is the fifth deadliest cancer among U.S. women killing 15,000 annually. There is a 90 percent cure rate when women are diagnosed in Stage I of the disease. The announcement and promotion of the consensus statement should lead to earlier diagnosis and earlier intervention for many women. 2. Technology Advances Aid Fight against Breast CancerThe FDA approved in February a molecular test that determines the likelihood of breast cancer returning within five to 10 years after a woman's initial cancer. In August, research was published noting that magnetic resonance imaging enables radiologists to better identify tumors missed by mammography and ultrasound in women at high-risk for breast cancer. These developments underscore the growing role advanced medical technology is playing in the fight against breast cancer.

3. Mounting Evidence of Sex Differences in Cardiovascular DiseaseWomen with heart disease are 50 percent more likely to die from it than men with the disease. More women than men suffer from small vessel heart disease. More women than men are having a stroke in middle life. Women have a poorer quality of life after a stroke than men. These are just a few of the headlines from 2007 that confirm great differences in cardiovascular disease between the sexes. Scientists are just now beginning to understand these differences and treatments to account for them have generally not yet been developed, underscoring the need for greater research support.

4. Improved Model Predicts Breast Cancer Risk in African-American WomenNational Cancer Institute researchers have developed a new model for calculating invasive breast cancer risk that has been found to give better estimates of the number of breast cancers that would develop in African American women 50 to 79 years of age than an earlier model which was based primarily on data from white women. This is a great advance because earlier models likely underestimated breast cancer risk in African American women. As a result they might not have received counseling about actions they could take to reduce their risk. The new model, called the CARE model, was unveiled in November.

5. Young Girls' Obesity Rates RisingFour-year-old girls are six times more likely to have a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or more than they were 20 years ago, according to research published in April. A BMI of 30 and over is considered obese by the National Institutes of Health. The findings point to recent changes in children's environment and lifestyles, which merits monitoring, further research and action, given the health risks associated with adulthood obesity such as increased risks for cardiovascular disease and type-2 diabetes.