10 Things YOU Should Know About Gynaecological Cancers …

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10 Things YOU Should Know About Gynaecological Cancers …
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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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Posted by: Greg Lance-Watkins
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>Outshining Ovarian Cancer

>Outshining Ovarian Cancer
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Outshining Ovarian Cancer

by Karen Ingalls

Inspiration image

Leading up to my cancer diagnosis, I noticed that I had gained a few pounds and developed a protruding stomach, both of which were unusual for me since I had always bordered on being underweight. But I never considered these changes to be anything other than normal postmenopausal aging. When I continued to gain weight, I began an aggressive exercise and weight-loss program.

Fast forward to three months later when a CT scan revealed a very large tumor in my left lower abdomen. I sched­uled an appointment with a gynecologic oncologist for the next day, and a week later, I had a hysterectomy and colon resection that confirmed I had a rare, aggressive form of ovarian cancer – malignant mixed Müllerian tumor.

An important lesson I learned early in life is the beauty of the soul outshines any negative experience, including cancer.

The word cancer elicits fear in most everyone, yet often the things we fear are never quite as great as the fear itself. At a young age, I learned that attitude, acceptance, and determination are the keys to facing fear and healing the body, mind, and spirit. So when facing the challenge of cancer, I stayed positive – learning, growing, and putting my best healing efforts forward – the whole way through. I did not focus on being cured of the cancer; rather I focused on living my life with dignity and learning all I could from my new role as a woman with cancer.

Like many others traveling this road, I have experienced valleys and mountaintops, darkness and sunshine. I don’t know what the future holds for me, but I have learned a lot about my­self and have met some incredible people along the way. The challenge of ovarian cancer was an opportunity for me to become a better person. My life is far richer now, and my mission is to spread the word about this disease. I truly see each moment as a gift that is not to be taken for granted but lived to its fullest with love. An important lesson I learned early in life, which was reinforced with the challenge of ovarian cancer, is the beauty of the soul outshines any nega­tive experience, including cancer.

♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

Karen Ingalls is an ovarian cancer survivor living in Central Florida. She is the author of Outshine: An Ovarian Cancer Memoir (OutshineOvarianCancer.com), a volunteer with the Ovarian Cancer Alliance of Florida and Women for Hospice, a public speaker, and an advocate for ovarian cancer aware­ness. Karen blogs about health and wellness, relationships, spirituality, and cancer at OutshineOvarianCancer.blogspot.com.

This article was published in Coping® with Cancer magazine, January/February 2014.

For more on Ovarian Cancer
CLICK HERE, or HERE, or Here

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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!

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Posted by: Greg Lance-Watkins

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