The U.S. government-sponsored report also highlights some progress in reducing the effects of depression, HIV/AIDS and osteoporosis on women.
But there's also bad news. The study shows little progress on such health issues as lung cancer, which remains the leading cause of cancer death in women in the U.S. and still has relatively few screening and treatment options. The report also highlights unintended pregnancy, alcohol and drug addiction, autoimmune diseases and dementia as other women's health issues where little progress has been made.
Additionally, the study finds that, in general, research into life-threatening diseases has grown, but there's been less progress on conditions that aren't necessarily associated with high death rates but still negatively impact a woman's quality of life.
The report, conducted by the National Academy of Science's Institute of Medicine for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, gives a mixed review regarding the state of women's health research. It also makes the case that while there have been significant improvements in women's health research over the past 20 years, more work needs to be done.
"Significant boosts in research on women's health issues have yielded measurable progress in reducing the toll of several serious disorders," said Nancy Adler, a University of California, San Francisco, medical psychology professor who led the committee that evaluated the status of women's health research. "Unfortunately, less progress has been made on conditions that are not major killers but still profoundly affect women's quality of life."
The study also highlights ongoing racial disparities. For instance, it notes that more white women than black women get breast cancer, but more black women die from the disease. The data suggests a need to boost women's health research on certain populations, the study said.
The study notes that, historically, researchers included fewer women than men in clinical studies because of concerns that women could become pregnant and that hormones fluctuations would complicate studies. Historically, researchers also held an inaccurate assumption that the symptom of diseases in men would closely correspond to what happens in women, said the report.