09/08/2016 10:06 BST | Updated 05/08/2017 06:12 BST

Gynae Cancers: What's the Fuzz About?

Why are women not too embarrassed to show your genitals to a beauty therapist but are able to put up with the discomfort of waxing, but so embarrassed they can't go to the doctor and talk about the lump they've found in their vulva or the fact they're bleeding after sex?

Bubbles & Bush is Movember for women's cancers. Nope, we're not asking women to grow hair in gynae places and be sponsored. We are inviting you to have a good think about why 98% of women are happy to put ourselves through the discomfort of having our pubic hair removed and yet would feel embarrassed about talking about gynae issues with a doctor.

Lady parts, bits, fanny, hoo hah.....legions of us don't call our vagina, a vagina. What's going on inside our pelvis is a mystery for far too many women. Most depressingly, it's commonplace for women to tell us at Ask Eve, our nurse-led information service, that the first time they've even heard of one of the five gynae cancers is when they are sitting in a small white room being told they've got one.

All that needs to change. Not just for the 21,000 women who are diagnosed with a gynae cancer each year, but for every woman who could be affected by one of these diseases. Every mother, daughter, sister.

The Eve Appeal leads a national campaign to address the stigma and taboos that stop women talking about gynae cancers, their signs and symptoms. Straight-talking is vital. Using the proper anatomical terms around gynaecological health, talking openly about common symptoms like changes to periods and bleeding and not using stigmatising or silly terms to describe parts of the female body are vital steps towards better awareness and ultimately the early diagnosis of these diseases.

September is Gynaecological Cancer Awareness Month in the UK and each year we undertake research amongst women aged 16 - 65. This has revealed that 65% of us have a problem using the words vagina or vulva and that just half of under 35s were able to correctly label a vagina on a simple anatomical diagram.

1 in 5 women can't name a single symptom of a gynaecological cancer, almost a third of 16 - 35 year olds are avoiding going to the doctors because they are too embarrassed to talk about gynae issues and a third of women in some age groups don't respond to a letter from their GP inviting them for a cervical smear test.

Contrast this lack of knowledge and embarrassment with a recent YouGov survey for Cosmopolitan Magazine which reveals that 98% of women groom their bikini line and

1 in 2 women under 30 remove all their pubic hair.

We want to get women thinking and talking about this fact - why are we so happy to tackle their pubic hair but not their gynae symptoms?

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