Contest Entries

Women's Silent Cancers/Harmful Hysterectomies

Entrants: Emily Chau, Leslie Laurence and Julia Kagan

Affiliation: Ladies Home Journal

General Interest Magazines above 1 million circ.

Year: 2008

Place: Third Place

Provide a brief synopsis of the story or stories, including any significant findings.

Gynecologic cancers are among the top three killers of women. Yet, except in the case of cervical cancer, there are no good early detection tools. One reason: federal funding lags behind that of other major cancers. Another: doctors often dismiss women's symptoms, believing these are silent cancers but research shows otherwise.

Moreover, some 600,000 hysterectomies are performed annually in the US. 90% are medically unnecessary. Numbers are so high because doctors aren't informing women of other less invasive treatments, partly because they don't know how to perform them. This series gives women the information they need to make informed choices.

Judges' comments: Loaded with useful information, the series of stories on female cancers gives readers critical information on what to look for, what to expect from doctors and how to take control to look out for themselves. The follow-up stories the next month on the huge number of hysterectomies - many unnecessary - and alternative and less-extreme treatments for common problems completed the package.

Read "Women's Silent Cancers" and "Harmful Hysterectomies."

See the contest questionnaire in which the reporter writes about how these stories were written.