Gynaecological Awareness Month! Know your body

Would you recognise a problem if you saw it?  

 

Although around 21,000 women per year contract some form or fashion of Gynaecological illness, it is not obvious if it is cancerous. Keeping your female organs healthy and being checked regularly up to the age of 70, is essential for women. 

 

Gynie problems 

 

‘Gynie’ problems as they are referred to by many women (it’s easier!) can occur for multiple other reasons, that are not serious and may simply need a straight forward treatment to clear them up.

 

However, there are several ‘areas’ in which you could have a cancerous problem, namely five. These are cervical cancer, vulval cancer, vaginal cancer, womb cancer and ovarian cancer. All of these are treatable, but the ovarian type is the most serious, and must be caught early, as it is quite resistant to both radiation and chemotherapy. It makes sense if you have any kind of swelling or unusual bleeding, that you get it checked out by your GP. 

 

 

 

 

In terms of other cancers, they are less detectable, but your GP will know whether to refer you to a specialist or not, if in any doubt. 

 

The purple ribbon  

 

There is much publicity around breast cancer awareness and you should be checking your breasts on a regular basis. However, other ‘gynie’ conditions are not so obvious, and just as important as any unusual lumps or symptoms to give you peace of mind. 

 

A purple ribbon (as opposed to a pink one for breast cancer) is the symbol for ‘gynie’ awareness month and even if you don’t participate in fundraising or any other activity to raise awareness, it can make other people think about it as well as yourself.  

 

The Royal Marsden Hospital is a source of information, particularly citing cases of cancer in much younger women from their 20s upwards, and does produce a series of short videos in connection with the disease and any symptoms etc. Contrary to public opinion, these cancers are not necessarily connected with the menopause, they can occur before and afterwards – there are no boundaries.

 

Ways to help yourself

 

Whilst some of the cancers have little or no symptoms if they are left undetected, there are ways to help yourself and to avoid certain things, such as:

 

  • Excess smoking (avoid second-hand smoke as well). 
  • Inexplicable weight gain or loss. 
  • Unhealthy diet, a balanced diet is far better for all illnesses. 
  • Exercise.

 

These will help with the risks of contracting the disease, but not prevent it. 

 

Taking part in the NHS scheme directed at female cancers is a facility you should use, provided regularly. If you should be unlucky enough to contract any cancers, you can get extra support, advice and care from the valued MacMillan Nurses organisation, that employ skilled nurses and trained advisors to help you through.  

 

Be aware, it’s the best way and go immediately to your GP if you need help and reassurance. 

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