Communications Manager, The Eve Appeal
Did you know there are five gynaecological cancers? That’s the cancers that affect the female reproductive system (inside the pelvis and between the legs). If not, you aren’t alone; awareness of these cancers is shockingly low.
The UK’s leading gynaecological cancer charity, The Eve Appeal, writes about the key signs and symptoms of these cancers for Gynaecological Cancer Awareness Month. So, the five gynae cancers, what are they? Womb, ovarian, cervical, vulval and vaginal. You may have heard of some of them before, but I bet not all.
About 22,050 women and people with gynae organs are diagnosed with one of these cancers every year. That’s 60 a day, and sadly, 21 of those people (over a third) die within five years of being diagnosed. We want everybody to know the signs and symptoms of these cancers and we want everybody to be able to talk about them openly.
Check out our diagram for all of the signs and symptoms of each of the five gynae cancers, and if you spot anything of concern, give your GP a call and get checked.
Hopefully, you already check your breasts or
chest; now check your vulva and vagina too.
Knowing your normal
Now some of those symptoms are easier to spot than others, so what is key in protecting yourself from gynae cancers is knowing your body well and what’s normal for you. It’s only then that you can quickly spot when something changes and get checked.
A great way to help you ‘know your normal’ is to track your periods. We have some tips that can help with that on eveappeal.org.uk/trackingtips. Also, check your body regularly. Hopefully, you already check your breasts or chest; now check your vulva and vagina too.
If you thought, hang on, what’s a vulva? It’s the external genitalia that you can see between the legs, so, the clitoris, the labia (small and large), and the opening to the urethra (where you wee from). The vagina is the internal canal that connects your vulva to your cervix (where periods and maybe babies may come out, and tampons/menstrual cups may go in).
Once a month or so, check your vulva with a mirror and get to know what it looks like, feels like, smells like. If you spot a change, it’s more than likely something less serious than cancer, but it’s always important to get checked, just in case.