September 2016 is Gynaecological Cancer Awareness Month, during which The Eve Appeal leads a campaign to encourage women across the UK to #KnowYourBody and to be aware of the signs and symptoms of the five gynaecological cancers that start in the female reproductive system: womb, ovarian, cervical, vulval and vaginal.
The Eve Appeal’s message is that embarrassment, stigma and taboo are the key barriers preventing women from talking openly about gynaecological signs and symptoms, and seeking medical help. This year’s campaign focuses on the concept of #KnowYourBody to address the “gynaecological knowledge gap” among women in the UK about their own anatomy, gynaecological issues as well as cancers and their associated symptoms.
Lucie Prothero, senior associate in the clinical negligence team at Penningtons Manches who specialises in delayed diagnoses of cancer cases, said: “We support this campaign to address the knowledge gap among women in the UK about gynaecological cancers and associated symptoms. Statistics reveal that 55 women in the UK are diagnosed with a gynaecological cancer every day, 21 of whom will not survive the disease. These are relatively poor survival statistics compared with some other cancers, such as breast cancer, where there is perhaps much greater public awareness.
“Early detection of gynaecological cancer is often the key to successful treatment and better survival prospects. By improving women’s knowledge of the signs and symptoms of these cancers, and removing the potential stigma and misconceptions, it is hoped that they will discuss problems with their GP sooner.
“We receive many enquiries from cancer sufferers and their families who are concerned that the opportunity for an earlier diagnosis of a gynaecological cancer was missed. Sometimes, there may have been failures by clinicians to take appropriate action when women have presented with persistent symptoms or abnormal test results, leading to a delayed diagnosis. But we also often see instances where women have been experiencing symptoms for a while before plucking up the courage to seek medical help. This is where greater awareness and openness on the subject is vital for fighting the disease.”