WOMEN are being encouraged to be aware of changes to their body as part of Gynaecological Cancer Awareness Month.
A leading cancer surgeon is calling for women to be open about any issues they might have and to be aware of symptoms which could be the first sign of gynaecological cancer.
It comes as this month is raising awareness for that type of cancer.
Dirk Brinkmann, consultant gynaecologist and cancer surgeon at Spire Portsmouth Hospital, in Havant, said: ‘More than 90 per cent of women diagnosed with stage one cervical cancer survive for at least five years. So it’s really important these cancers are picked up and treated as early as possible.’
Dr Brinkmann said young women are even more reluctant to discuss gynaecological health problems and are less informed despite awareness being equally important to their age group.
Each year in the UK, more than 20,000 women are diagnosed with a gynaecological cancer. Cancer Research UK figures show the most common is womb cancer, with more 8,000 new cases, and the rarest is vaginal cancer, with about 250.
Dr Brinkmann added: ‘The basic conundrum is the symptoms that indicate cancer are often quite common with every day medical niggles, and in most cases will have a much less serious explanation.
‘But if we ignore them completely, or until they become debilitating, we risk diagnosing cancer at a later stage when treatment might be more aggressive and less effective.’