Wednesday, 27 September 2017

Know the signs and symptoms of gynae cancer

cancer, woman's health, gynaecological cancer
Search #KnowYourBody for more
info on The Eve Appeal's campaign.
September is Gynae Cancer Awareness Month, and cancer charity The Eve Appeal is determined to smash the taboos that surround gynaecological health and raise awareness of the signs and symptoms of gynae cancer. 

Stats show over 21,000 women in the UK are diagnosed each year with a gynaecological cancer - that's 58 diagnoses each day. Yet, research conducted by the charity shows awareness levels of the five gynae cancers among both women and men are startlingly low. 

A major aim of The Eve Appeal is to break the wall of silence that exists around the issue - particularly between women and girls - and the men that love and care for them. Celebrities like Nigel Havers, who lost his wife Polly in 2004 to ovarian cancer, and Dr Christian Jessen from Channel 4’s ‘Embarrassing Bodies’ are urging people to to discuss women-specific health issues – from periods, to menopause and even what to call the female reproductive organs. Girl Guiding UK has got involved to help spread the message.

And since early diagnosis can literally save lives, Eve Appeal’s Chief Executive, Athena Lamnisos would like to see an end to the stigma that surrounds these issues - because the devastating impact of a diagnosis of gynaecological cancer affects not just the woman involved but also her partner, her family and her friends. 

'As the month comes to a close, we’d urge everyone to continue with open conversation, encouraging women to see a healthcare professional if they are at all concerned', says Athena. 'There’s not a woman alive who isn’t aware of breast cancer and at least one of the key signs – and our aspiration is for the gynae cancers to be just as well known', she continues.

Do you know the signs and symptoms of gynaecological cancer?


The Eve Appeal is the only UK charity raising awareness and funding research in all five gynaecological cancers - womb, ovarian, cervical, vaginal and vulval. It runs an information service - ‘Ask Eve’ - which provides information, support and advice for both men and women around the signs and symptoms of gynaecological cancers, as well as general gynaecological health issues. 

A representative from the charity says the most obvious symptom to look out for is abnormal or unusual bleeding, which is the most common symptom across all five gynaecological cancers . This can include vaginal bleeding after the menopause or after sexual intercourse, as well as vaginal discharge – which can change from pink and watery to brown, or even prune coloured occasionally. 

Other symptoms can include:
  • thickened, raised, red, white or dark patches on the skin of the vulva
  • an open sore or growth visible on the skin of the vulva
  • a lump or swelling in the vulva
  • a vaginal itch that won’t go away and pain when urinating
  • increased abdominal size and persistent bloating (not bloating that comes and goes)
  • persistent pelvic and abdominal pain
  • difficulty eating and feeling full quickly, or feeling nauseous
  • vaginal pain during sexual intercourse.


Where to go for help


Anyone who has the key symptoms of gynaecological cancer should see their GP or can contact The Eve Appeal’s Ask Eve service on freephone 0808 802 0019 or email nurse@eveappeal.org.uk. Remember, an early diagnosis can save a life - so speak up about any symptoms you or a loved one is experiencing. 

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