Here at The Eve Appeal, we are midway through our flagship awareness raising activity for Gynaecological Cancer Awareness Month#GynaeMonth. It's a month where we shout even louder than we usually do to ensure that women all over the country are aware of the importance of knowing their body and understanding their gynaecological health and female anatomy.
The reason why this is so important is that if women don't know their vulva from their vagina, and don't know what's normal for them and what's not when it comes to their gynae health, then how can we expect them to know when a potentially common symptom might indicate a gynaecological cancer?
The #knowyourbody hashtag has provoked some spirited and essential conversations. These conversations are vital, but there are even more important conversations that our research has revealed are simply not happening - the ones between mums and daughters.
Mums should know best, but when it comes to talking about vaginas it seems that too often, keeping mum really is the word.
This is why we are urging all mums to chat to their daughters about their gynaecological health and female anatomy.
Our statistics speak for themselves. 9 in 10 (94%) daughters told us that their parents never discussed gynaecological health issues with them when they were younger and 84% said their parents never discussed the female sexual anatomy.
The 'best left unsaid' approach extends to the doctor's surgery, as 26% of women would not feel comfortable talking to a doctor about their vagina, and 31% would not feel comfortable being examined.
So, if these conversations are not happening at home, or with doctors, then who are women talking to? We have found that in all too many cases the sad fact is that usually, they simply aren't talking and that for many women, the first time they hear about a gynaecological cancer is when they are in a room being told they have one?
Gynaecological cancers are the third most common cancer among women in the UK, and the outcomes are poor. In the UK 21 women die daily of a gynaecological cancer. And rates of young women being diagnosed with cervical cancer (the biggest cancer in women under 35) have increased by 20% since 2008.
So, we want to put an end to keeping 'mum', and instead get mums talking. We're urging a national conversation with our daughters. It's time to know our bodies and together protect the next generations from carrying an inherited taboo into their futures with them.
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