September is Gynaecological Cancer Awareness Month, which covers a five different cancers: Cervical, Ovarian, Vaginal, Vulvar and Womb (also called uterine cancer and endometrial) cancer.
Each of these cancers have their own symptoms, frequency and characteristics. Ovarian cancer, for example, affects around 7,400 people in the UK each year while Vaginal cancer affects just 250. In total, each year in the UK, over 21,000 people are diagnosed with a form of gynaecological cancer.
However, there are a number of messages common to all five cancers:
- Know your body and what is normal for you. Everyone is different!
- If you have any new and persistent symptoms such as: pain or discomfort, either constantly or during sex; bleeding between periods or post-menopause; or unusual discharge, contact your GP and get it checked out!
- Take part in cervical screening (smear tests) when you’re invited. This will be every 3 years between the ages of 25-49, and every 5 years for 50-64 year olds.
These messages apply to all women and also some Trans Men depending on what gender-confirmation treatment you have received.