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UK women believe female cancers are linked to promiscuity

Do you care what your doctor thinks about your sex life? Many British women do, it seems, and a reluctance to discuss possible gynaecological cancer symptoms could have serious consequences.

The Eve Appeal, a charity campaigning for better detection and improved treatment of all five gynaecological cancers, surveyed 1,000 women from across the U.K. and found that 20 percent of them believe that gynaecological cancers are connected to having multiple sexual partners.

Additionally a quarter of them revealed that they didn’t talk to their doctor about possible symptoms, because they didn’t want to talk about their sexual history, and 34 percent said they’d feel more comfortable talking about gynaecological health issues if there was less of a stigma attached to them.

Currently there is no proven link between sexually transmitted diseases and ovarian or womb cancer, the two most common gynaecological cancers.

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While there is a connection between the sexually transmitted High Risk Human Papilloma Virus and some types of gynaecological cancer the virus is widely considered to be a normal consequence of sex, with around 80 percent of people contracting some form of HPV in their lifetime, including those who have only had one sexual partner.

By mistakenly assuming multiple sexual partners leads to a higher risk of cancer women are putting their lives at risk, says the charity.

Throughout September — Gynaecological Cancer Awareness Month — The Eve Appeal will be highlighting the potential stigma attached to women’s cancers, and misconceptions about who is at risk of them developing, as one of the key issues surrounding gynaecological cancers.

“It’s critical that women open up and share their experiences and concerns around gynaecological health so that we can begin to address the misconceptions around the causes and symptoms of women’s cancers that have been highlighted in this survey,” said Athena Lamnisos, CEO of The Eve Appeal.

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In the U.K. 20,000 women are diagnosed annually with a gynaecological cancer — and 7,600 of them die. By being aware of the early signs and symptoms of the five types of gynaecological cancer you could save your life.

Ovarian cancer

  • Persistent pelvic and abdominal pain
  • Increased abdominal size or persistent bloating (not intermittent bloating)
  • Difficulty eating and feeling full quickly
  • Needing to urinate more often than usual

Cervical cancer

  • Vaginal bleeding after sex
  • Vaginal bleeding after menopause (when periods have stopped)
  • Persistent vaginal discharge that is blood-stained or smells unpleasant

Womb cancer

  • Vaginal bleeding after the menopause (when periods have stopped)
  • Vaginal bleeding between periods
  • Vaginal bleeding after sex
  • Persistent vaginal discharge that is blood-stained or smells unpleasant

Cancer of the vulva

  • A persistant itch
  • Pain or soreness
  • Thickened, raised, red, white or dark patches on the skin of the vulva
  • An open sore or growth visible on the skin
  • Burning pain when passing urine
  • Vaginal discharge or bleeding
  • A mole on the vulva that changes shape or colour
  • A lump or swelling in the vulva

Vaginal cancer

  • Bleeding when not having a period, bleeding after sex or bleeding after the menopause  — this is the most common symptom
  • Vaginal discharge that is blood-stained or smells unpleasant
  • Pain during sexual intercourse
  • A lump or growth in the vagina
  • A persistent vaginal itch

If you have any concerns regarding these symptoms visit your GP. Use #TimeToOpenUp on social media this month to raise awareness of gynaecological cancer.

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