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10 Things YOU Should Know About Gynaecological Cancers …

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10 Things YOU Should Know About Gynaecological Cancers …
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Posted by:
Greg Lance – Watkins
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Hi,

10 Things Women Should Know About Gynaecological Cancers

30/04/2017 17:25

Fabrice Poincelet via Getty Images

One day I will write a fun book about gynaecological cancers and looking after our vaginas. Until then, here is a short list of ten things that I think every woman (and man) should know. The icing and decoration is fun, but the cake mixture is serious. Some of the points might be blindingly obvious, in which case, sorry for being so basic. However, I hope everyone who reads this will learn at least one new thing, or be reminded of something they already know but might have forgotten. Vaginas, sex, bleeding, wombs and everything associated with what’s between our legs is not the first choice of conversation for most people, but it is for me. I had cervical cancer just over two years ago, perform comedy about the whole debacle, and now work for The Eve Appeal, a charity that raises awareness and funds for research into gynae (look at me being all snazzy and shortening the word ‘gynaecological’) cancers. This means that most of my life is spent talking about awkward lady things. And I love it. If you enjoy this post, please share it so that we can spread as much knowledge and awareness as possible.

1. There are FIVE gynaecological cancers.

That’s right, five different bits ‘down there’ that can get you entry to the cancer club. They are: womb, ovarian, cervical, vulval and vaginal. Yes, the vagina and vulva are not the same thing. I like to think of the vulva as the letterbox and the vagina as the doormat.

2. If you are bleeding when you shouldn’t be, see your doctor.

Abnormal vaginal bleeding (i.e. bleeding after the menopause, in between periods or after sex) is a symptom of four out of five gynae cancers (not vulval). It’s probably nothing serious, or your boyfriend just has a huge penis, but you need to get it checked out by a doctor just in case.

3. Ovarian cancer is sneaky.

Most ovarian cancer isn’t diagnosed until it has spread outside the ovary. One of the most common symptoms is persistent abdominal bloating, aka ‘puffy tummy’. This is often misdiagnosed as IBS (irritable bowel syndrome) and therefore the cancer is left undiscovered for longer. If you feel bloated for three or more weeks, see your doctor and fingers crossed that you’re just a gassy bitch.

4. GO FOR YOUR SMEAR TEST.

Smear tests save thousands of lives every year in the UK. They can detect abnormal cells that if left untreated, could turn into cervical cancer. Please, please, please don’t avoid your appointment. Yes, it can be a bit awkward having a stranger give you a poke with a bit of plastic, but a few minutes could save your life. So take your knickers off and spread those legs.

5. Hashtag Don’t Judge.

Almost all cervical cancers (plus some vaginal and vulval cancers) are caused by a virus called HPV (Human Papilloma Virus). There are sooo many different strands of HPV, but types 16 and 18 are the ones that can over time, turn cells in your cervix against you, which is a real bugger. HPV is caused through sexual contact. Condoms don’t protect against it entirely and you can get it from just having sex once. Therefore, if someone has HPV it doesn’t mean they are having dick for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Also, if they were, does it even matter? Most people who have had sex will get HPV at some point in their lives and only in very rare cases can the body not get rid of it. Then it might turn into cancer, but it might not. It’s like very unlucky and scary Russian Roulette.

6. Don’t suck, swallow or blow.

Cigarettes. Without going into boring science stuff, you’re twice as likely to get cervical cancer if you smoke, so it’s really not a good idea. I know a menthol cigarette, glass of sauvignon blanc, pub garden and outdoor heater burning the top of your head is the stuff that dreams are made of, and lord I have been guilty of living that dream. But. Just. Don’t.

7. Losing lady parts doesn’t make you less of a lady.

If you have a gynaecological cancer, chances are you will lose at least some of your ‘lady parts’. Surgery is very likely, so yes, you might have your ovaries, or womb, or cervix, or vagina or vulva partially or entirely removed. I know that’s sad and horrible, but please remember that you are no less of a woman just because you can’t carry a baby, or because you need your labia rebuilt from your arse skin. You’re amazing.

8. Make the jokes.

Oh my god it feels good to laugh, doesn’t it? It’s so much FUN to make jokes about awful things. If you don’t want to, that’s absolutely fine, but if you do laugh at the fact that you have now been fingered by more medical staff than lovers (like I have) then you are my new best friend and let’s go and drink gin.

9. Have a night in.

With yourself. Aside from being on bleeding and bloating patrol, get to know your body. Touch yourself. Yes, that means what you think it means. What does your vagina feel like when you insert your finger(s)? What do your labia feel like when you rub them in between your thumb and index finger? If you do this regularly, you will notice if there is a change and can get a doctor’s opinion if you need to.

10. Everyone handles a cancer diagnosis differently.

If you’ve had ‘that news’ then I’m really, really sorry. It’s scary and weird. Please remember that there is no right or wrong way to ‘have’ cancer. It doesn’t matter if you talk about at every opportunity or never utter a word. Just look after yourself and do whatever is right for you.

To view the original article CLICK HERE

Regards,
Greg_L-W.

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> GUEST POST: Lara Prendergast: ‘Cervical Cancer & The Young’!

> GUEST POST: Lara Prendergast: ‘Cervical Cancer & The Young’!
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Cervical cancer doesn’t discriminate, so why does the smear test?

Cancer couldn't care less about geographical boundaries

Cancer couldn’t care less about geographical boundaries

Here’s a piece of confusing medical doctrine: in England, smear tests are offered to women from the age of 25. In Scotland, it’s 20. A couple of months ago, I checked myself in for a smear test, aged 23. The receptionist was easy to convince: ‘In Scotland,’ I said, ‘the age limit is lower. I’d like to have a test done.’ She understood, and booked me in.

But when it came to the appointment, there was no convincing the nurse. I asked why there were different age limits for different parts of the UK. She had no answer. Do the women of Scotland have an increased susceptibility to cervical cancer? No, she didn’t think so. So why then? No answer. At this point, she got a little exasperated with my questions, and tried to palm me off with a chlamydia test. I left in a huff.

Age limits on tests are understandable. But given that some parts of the UK seem to think I’m at risk, and others think I’m not, I’d have thought there would be some leeway. It seems not. Friends who have reached 25 tell me they are now bombarded with letters reminding them it’s time for their test.

I wasn’t surprised to read the sad story about 19-year-old Sophie Jones, who died last week of cervical cancer. She too had been refused a smear test, because she was ‘too young to get the disease’. Her family has launched a petition to prompt parliamentary debate into lowering the age limit for cervical screening. Lowering the age limit may not be medically sound – perhaps 25 is the correct age, but it’s concerning that no one seems able to explain what’s going on with the testing ranges. Either women are at risk at 20, or they are at risk at 25. Geography shouldn’t play a part in it. It’s time for a bit more clarity on the matter; and if a parliamentary debate will catalyse that, then that’s what we should indeed push for.

To view the original of this article CLICK HERE
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Regards,
Greg_L-W.
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I just want to say sorry for copping out at times and leaving Lee and friends to cope!
Any help and support YOU can give her will be hugely welcome.
I do make a lousy patient!

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If YOU want to follow my fight against Cancer from when it started and I first presented with symptoms in 1998 see The TAB at the Header of this Blog. called >DIARY of Cancer ….< just click and it will give you a long list of the main events in chronological order, many linked to specific blog postings.
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01-Feb-2011 – WHO CANCER FACT SHEET #297

01-Feb-2011 – WHO CANCER FACT SHEET #297
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Cancer

Fact sheet N°297
February 2011

Key facts

  • Cancer is a leading cause of death worldwide and accounted for 7.6 million deaths (around 13% of all deaths) in 2008. 1
  • Tobacco use is a major risk factor for cancer. Harmful alcohol use, poor diet and physical inactivity are other main risk factors.
  • Certain infections cause up to 20% of cancer deaths in low- and middle-income countries and 9% of cancer deaths in high-income countries.
  • More than 30% of cancer deaths can be prevented.
  • Cancer arises from a change in one single cell. The change may be started by external agents and inherited genetic factors.
  • Deaths from cancer worldwide are projected to continue to rise to over 11 million in 2030.

Cancer is a generic term for a large group of diseases that can affect any part of the body. Other terms used are malignant tumours and neoplasms. One defining feature of cancer is the rapid creation of abnormal cells that grow beyond their usual boundaries, and which can then invade adjoining parts of the body and spread to other organs. This process is referred to as metastasis. Metastases are the major cause of death from cancer.

The problem

Cancer is a leading cause of death worldwide and accounted for 7.6 million deaths (around 13% of all deaths) in 2008. The main types of cancer are:

  • lung (1.4 million deaths)
  • stomach (740 000 deaths)
  • liver (700 000 deaths)
  • colorectal (610 000 deaths)
  • breast (460 000 deaths).

More than 70% of all cancer deaths occurred in low- and middle-income countries. Deaths from cancer worldwide are projected to continue to rise to over 11 million in 2030.

What causes cancer?

Cancer arises from one single cell. The transformation from a normal cell into a tumour cell is a multistage process, typically a progression from a pre-cancerous lesion to malignant tumours. These changes are the result of the interaction between a person’s genetic factors and three categories of external agents, including:

  • physical carcinogens, such as ultraviolet and ionizing radiation;
  • chemical carcinogens, such as asbestos, components of tobacco smoke, aflatoxin (a food contaminant) and arsenic (a drinking water contaminant); and
  • biological carcinogens, such as infections from certain viruses, bacteria or parasites.

Ageing is another fundamental factor for the development of cancer. The incidence of cancer rises dramatically with age, most likely due to a build up of risks for specific cancers that increase with age. The overall risk accumulation is combined with the tendency for cellular repair mechanisms to be less effective as a person grows older.

Risk factors for cancers

Tobacco use, alcohol use, unhealthy diet, and chronic infections from hepatitis B (HBV), hepatitis C virus (HCV) and some types of Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) are leading risk factors for cancer in low- and middle-income countries. Cervical cancer, which is caused by HPV, is a leading cause of cancer death among women in low-income countries.

How can the burden of cancer be reduced?

Knowledge about the causes of cancer, and interventions to prevent and manage the disease is extensive. Cancer can be reduced and controlled by implementing evidence-based strategies for cancer prevention, early detection of cancer and management of patients with cancer.

Modifying and avoiding risk factors

More than 30% of cancer could be prevented by modifying or avoiding key risk factors, including:

  • tobacco use
  • being overweight or obese
  • low fruit and vegetable intake
  • physical inactivity
  • alcohol use
  • sexually transmitted HPV-infection
  • urban air pollution
  • indoor smoke from household use of solid fuels.

Prevention strategies

  • Increase avoidance of the risk factors listed above.
  • Vaccinate against human papilloma virus (HPV) and hepatitis B virus (HBV).
  • Control occupational hazards.
  • Reduce exposure to sunlight.

Early detection

Cancer mortality can be reduced if cases are detected and treated early. There are two components of early detection efforts:

Early diagnosis

The awareness of early signs and symptoms (such as cervical, breast and oral cancers) in order to facilitate diagnosis and treatment before the disease becomes advanced. Early diagnosis programmes are particularly relevant in low-resource settings where the majority of patients are diagnosed in very late stages.

Screening

The systematic application of a screening test in an asymptomatic population. It aims to identify individuals with abnormalities suggestive of a specific cancer or pre-cancer and refer them promptly for diagnosis and treatment. Screening programmes are especially effective for frequent cancer types that have a screening test that is cost-effective, affordable, acceptable and accessible to the majority of the population at risk.
Examples of screening methods are:

  • visual inspection with acetic acid (VIA) for cervical cancer in low-resource settings;
  • PAP test for cervical cancer in middle- and high-income settings;
  • mammography screening for breast cancer in high-income settings.

Treatment

Treatment is the series of interventions, including psychosocial support, surgery, radiotherapy, chemotherapy that is aimed at curing the disease or considerably prolonging life while improving the patient’s quality of life.

Treatment of early detectable cancers

Some of the most common cancer types, such as breast cancer, cervical cancer, oral cancer and colorectal cancer have higher cure rates when detected early and treated according to best practices.

Treatment of other cancers with potential for cure

Some cancer types, even though disseminated, such as leukemias and lymphomas in children, and testicular seminoma, have high cure rates if appropriate treatment is provided.

Palliative care

Palliative care is treatment to relieve, rather than cure, symptoms caused by cancer. Palliative care can help people live more comfortably; it is an urgent humanitarian need for people worldwide with cancer and other chronic fatal diseases. It is particularly needed in places with a high proportion of patients in advanced stages where there is little chance of cure.
Relief from physical, psychosocial and spiritual problems can be achieved in over 90% of advanced cancer patients through palliative care.

Palliative care strategies

Effective public health strategies, comprising of community- and home-based care are essential to provide pain relief and palliative care for patients and their families in low-resource settings.
Improved access to oral morphine is mandatory for the treatment of moderate to severe cancer pain, suffered by over 80% of cancer patients in terminal phase.

WHO response

In 2008, WHO launched its Noncommunicable Diseases Action Plan.
WHO and the International Agency for Research on Cancer, the specialized cancer agency of WHO, collaborate with other United Nations organizations and partners in the areas of international cancer prevention and control to:

  • increase political commitment for cancer prevention and control;
  • generate new knowledge, and disseminate existing knowledge to facilitate the delivery of evidence-based approaches to cancer control;
  • develop standards and tools to guide the planning and implementation of interventions for prevention, early detection, treatment and care;
  • facilitate broad networks of cancer control partners at global, regional and national levels;
  • strengthen health systems at national and local levels;
  • provide technical assistance for rapid, effective transfer of best practice interventions to developing countries; and
  • coordinate and conduct research on the causes of human cancer, the mechanisms of carcinogenesis, and develop scientific strategies for cancer prevention and control.
 .
 Please Be Sure To
My Blogs
To Spread The Facts World Wide To Give Others HOPE
I Have Been Fighting Cancer since 1997 & I’M STILL HERE!
I Have Cancer, Cancer Does NOT Have Me
I just want to say sorry for copping out at times and leaving Lee and friends to cope!
Any help and support YOU can give her will be hugely welcome.
I do make a lousy patient!

.
If YOU want to follow my fight against Cancer from when it started and I first presented with symptoms see The TAB just below the Header of this Blog. called >DIARY of Cancer< just click and it will give you a long list of the main events in chronological order.
 .
Thoughts and comments will be in chronological order in the main blog and can be tracked in the >ARCHIVE< in the Right Sidebar.

You may find the TABS >MEDICAL LINKS< and also >CANCER LINKS< of help. . YOU are welcome to call me if you believe I can help in ANY way.
.

Posted by: Greg Lance-Watkins
tel: 01291 – 62 65 62
on: http://GregLanceWatkins.Blogspot.com  
TWITTER: Greg_LW  
Health/Cancer Blog: http://GregLW.blogspot.com