'All In Her Head' Author Unpacks Women's Health Care History In Brookline

Photo: Courtesy of Dr. Elizabeth Comen.

BROOKLINE, Mass. (WBZ NewsRadio) — An accomplished author, medical historian, and breast cancer oncologist at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York, returned to her roots at Brookline Booksmith to showcase her new book All in Her Head and host a discussion on women’s health care today. The event Monday night tackles modern medicine and its shortfalls providing female patients the beneficial services they deserve.

Photo: Courtesy of Dr. Elizabeth Comen

Dr. Elizabeth Comen is a Harvard grad and teaches at Weill Cornell Medicine, and spoke with WBZ NewsRadio about her new book release. She says she hopes All in Her Head inspires women readers to ask the questions they really want answered, without fear of being judged or ridiculed.

“When advocating for your health care it can be really hard, particularly if you had a not-so-pleasant experience with the healthcare system," Dr. Comen told WBZ NewsRadio's Jay Willett.

The pages touch upon the origins of plastic surgery, mistrust, and scapegoating of women in the medical system throughout history, namely in ill-placed associations with sexually transmitted diseases (STDs).

"If you look at STDs, the history of those is long-storied with blaming women for infecting men, as opposed to understanding, that obviously, it takes two to tango. The idea that women's health is simply about breast or reproductive function is really not true," Dr. Comen said.

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Dr. Comen also works to break down common misconceptions about women’s endocrine systems, rooted in false narratives surrounding hormones.

"There are so many female-predominate diseases, whether related to our mental health, the way that we exercise, gastrointestinal disorders, auto-immune conditions, the type of orthopedic injuries that we have are very unique and different. It's important to talk to your doctor," Dr. Comen said.

She recommends that women make a practice of always maintaining a clear line communication with doctors and medical professionals in a space where they feel comfortable— whether that be on an online portal or in person.

“[It’s about] making sure [that] you have somebody with you, if you have a new diagnosis and you're anxious, making sure in this complicated healthcare system you find out who is on your care team— because it's likely to not just be your doctor," Dr. Comen said.

The event was scheduled for 7 p.m. Monday in Brookline.

WBZ NewsRadio's Jay Willett (@JayWillettWBZ) reports.

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