A worrying proportion of women are unaware of the signs of deadly gynecological cancers.
Two thirds of Britons did not recognize abnormal vaginal bleeding as a possible symptom of womb cancer.
Cervical cancer is the fourth most common cancer in women (and people with gynecological organs/trans women) in the UK.
Vaginal bleeding can also be an indicator of cervical, vaginal, or vulvar cancer.
Along with ovarian cancer, these are the five gynecological cancers that affect 21,000 people annually.
But the survey by charity Eve Appeal found that just two per cent of adults in the UK could name all five types of cancer.
By far the most aware gynecological cancer is cervical cancer, which killed Jade Goody at the age of 27.
About 61 percent of people could name this cancer.
Despite this, many were unaware of its symptoms. Less than half were aware that bleeding after sex is a significant red flag (45 percent).
Athena Lamnisos, CEO of The Eve Appeal said: “There is a deplorable lack of knowledge about what goes on between our legs and in our pelvis.
“We want everyone to know the signs and symptoms and seek medical help as soon as they need it.
“That means you know your anatomy, are aware of key symptoms like abnormal bleeding, and can discuss them with your doctor without embarrassment.”
The survey results are concerning because they suggest people are being diagnosed too late because they are unaware of the symptoms.
Early detection of cancer is crucial to give patients the best possible chance.
Eve Appeal’s annual Get Lippy campaign in May aims to raise awareness about gynecology and get women talking to each other to break taboos.
Eddie Morris, President of the Royal College of Obstetrics and Gynecology, said there was a backlog of people awaiting gynecology diagnosis or treatment because of Covid.
“We worry that these delays may have resulted in fewer cancer diagnoses,” he said.
Read more about Get Lippy here.
The main symptoms to look out for
- Abnormal vaginal bleeding (between periods, after sex, after menopause, or much heavier than normal for you)
- Persistent bloating (for 3 weeks or more that doesn’t come and go)
- Changes in bowel habits (fast feeling of fullness or nausea)
- Changes in discharge (if it smells foul or is “bloody” like pink, red, or brown)
- Persistent vulvar or vaginal itching and any changes in the look or feel of the vulva and vagina (a lump, an open sore, or thickened and raised, lighter or darker patches of skin).