14/09/2017 11:00 BST | Updated 14/09/2017 11:00 BST

It's Gynaecological Cancer Awareness Month - Do You Know What Signs and Symptoms To Look Out For?


September is Gynaecological Cancer Awareness Month and as a young survivor of cervical cancer, I felt it very appropriate to write a little about the importance of understanding gynae cancer symptoms and also, crucially, the outcome if signs and symptoms are missed or ignored.

I also wish to get the message across that gynae cancer can strike any female of any age. This is why it is so important to be educated on what signs and symptoms to notice, should any gynae issues arise.

I believe that education on this subject is imperative in terms of prevention and early detection and this month, UK gynae cancer charitable organisations are doing fantastic work to promote awareness and to further educate on the symptoms of the various types of gynae cancer - information that can help to save lives. The Eve Appeal #KnowYourBody hashtag campaign is especially helpful.

I feel that there is a lack of understanding of the various types of gynae cancer. For example, cervical cancer has different types. My type of cervical cancer, was an unusual high-grade adenocarcinoma - a tumour - on the inside of the cervix. Similarly, there are also various types of ovarian cancer. Did you know that there are also many additional gynae cancers? These include uterine (womb) cancer and fallopian tube cancer, among others. Not all gynae cancers are internal either - there are some that can affect the outer genitalia.

Symptoms to look out for include: abnormal vaginal bleeding, pelvic pain or pressure, abdominal or back pain, bloating, changes in bathroom habits (increased urination for example), burning sensation, changes to the colour of the skin on the genitals.

So, what is the truth about what can happen if a gynae cancer is not detected early on? And why does this have such importance in getting the cancer treated swiftly? I will discuss this further in blogs as there is not enough room here but I received major life-changing surgery to prevent my cancer spreading, which involved the removal of many organs and lymph nodes.

If I am being completely honest, the whole ordeal surrounding my cancer misdiagnosis has ruined my life and I now have to deal with the life-sentence that is lymphoedema.

I have had a hard time dealing with what cancer has done to me because I resent that no-one would listen to me as a young girl when I repeatedly reported my symptoms for a decade - which is why I am in full support of any campaign that educates others on the symptoms and that these can affect any age group.

But it's reassuring that I have helped to improve others' lives due to my involvement in groundbreaking cancer research and raising awareness.

I urge women of all ages to get clued-up on the gynae cancer symptoms education provided on the gynae cancer charities' websites* and discuss it with friends and share on social media - it may very well save lives!!

Rebecka Eden: Inspirational Speaker, Writer, Model, Philanthropist

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Read Rebeckas' recent international interview on womens' health & nutrition here: