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Women's health - Statistics & Facts

In the United States, women generally live long and healthy lives when compared to other less developed countries, but they still face many health issues involving cancer, disease, mental health, and pregnancy. In 2018, heart disease and cancer were the leading causes of death among women in the U.S., accounting for a combined 42 percent of all female deaths.

Cancer cases, deaths, and screening

The most common type of cancer among women in the U.S. is breast cancer, of which there will be an estimated 281,550 new cases in 2021. Although rates of breast cancer have increased, deaths have been steadily decreasing since 1950. Cancer screenings and other prevention measures are important tools to minimize the risk of disease and are especially important for women in early prevention, detection, and treatment of breast cancer and cervical cancer. In 2020, nearly 80 percent of women reported having a mammogram in the past two years, while 68 percent reported having a pap smear.

Mental health

The death rate from suicide among U.S. women has increased slightly in recent years, highlighting the importance of mental health management and treatment. In 2019, around a quarter of adult women in the United States suffered from some form of mental illness in the past year. During this time, instances of major depressive episodes, as well as serious thoughts of suicide, were most common among women aged 18 to 21 years. More women are, however, seeking treatment for their mental health problems than in previous years, in part due to an increased availability of such services and a decrease in social stigma surrounding mental illness.

Pregnancy

One of the most important times in a woman’s life to be healthy is during pregnancy, as the health of the unborn baby depends on the health of the mother. However, despite the importance of being healthy during pregnancy, it was found that roughly 10 percent of pregnant women aged 15 to 44 drank alcohol or used tobacco products in 2019. Furthermore, the percentage of women who were obese prior to becoming pregnant has increased in recent years. This problem will most likely worsen in the future as overweight and obesity rates in the U.S. continue to rise among men and women alike.

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