Millions of women don’t realise there are five types of gynaecological cancer, study finds

Millions of women have no idea there are five gynaecological cancers which could affect them, according to research. Despite more than 22,000 women being diagnosed with these types of cancer every year in the UK – and 21 dying every day – just nine percent, of the 2,000 polled, were aware of there being that many.

As many as 93 percent had heard of ovarian cancer, and 95 percent knew they had to watch out for cervical cancer.

But 64 percent had never heard of vulval cancer, while 48 percent were clueless they could be subject to cancer of the vagina, and 29 percent didn’t know it could affect the womb.

And perhaps more worryingly, 25 percent would not immediately seek help from a medical professional if they had any concerns about their gynaecological health.

A spokeswoman for Bodyform, which carried out the study of 2,000 women to highlight awareness of gynaecological cancers among those of all ages, said: “It is incredible to think that, with the number of women being diagnosed every year, knowledge of what to look out for is so incredibly low.

“Every day, 60 women are given the shattering news that they have one of the five types of cancer affecting their gynae organs. And yet awareness is low, and little is done outside the medical arena to heighten knowledge among those who need it most.”

The study found 61 percent of women can’t identify the signs and symptoms of ANY of the five cancers – and 54 percent admit they would find it difficult to know when things like discharge, bloating, and pelvic pain were anything out of the ordinary.

Meanwhile, three in 10 (29 percent) assume they would have all the same symptoms, while 16 percent reckon they would be totally different.

Of those not wanting to visit a doctor for concerns about their gynaecological health, half don’t want to over-react, while 22 percent are too embarrassed to talk about it.

Just under a fifth (17 percent) don’t want to face what might be said, and 15 percent openly admit they prefer the “bury my head in the sand” approach.

And while 83 percent of women do check themselves for key indicators of breast cancer, 41 percent would never consider whether their periods, discharge, tummy discomfort, or use of the toilet, are normal for them.

Understandably, exactly eight in 10 women feel there needs to be greater awareness among women about the different types of cancers.

Particularly as just four percent remember any sort of reference or education at school – with 45 percent believing it should be part of their studies between the ages of 11 and 15.

Bodyform has teamed up with The Eve Appeal, to help educate women and people with gynae organs about the five types of gynaecological cancers, including how to spot the signs – and it will also provide a link to the site on all product packaging.

Athena Lamnisos, CEO of leading gynae cancer charity, The Eve Appeal, said: “Our mission is to open up conversations about gynaecological health with everyone. There’s a woeful lack of knowledge about signs, symptoms, and risk factors.

“These may not be cancer, but we want people to recognise the changes that might be, and get them checked out. They need to know what they are looking for, and when to seek help from a medical professional.

“Women need to feel more comfortable checking themselves, and doing something about it if they have any concerns. There’s shame, embarrassment, and taboo that surrounds gynae health – with Bodyform, we’ve created a powerful partnership to address the information gap.”

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