We are always keen to help you get to know down there a bit better - but when it comes to recognising the signs of gynecological cancer, it’s more important than ever.
Gynecological cancers include everything that might build up your reproductive system - from your vulva, vagian and cervix to womb and ovaries.
Early detection is always keey when it comes to beating cancer - so here’s our breakdown of the most common signs and symptoms to look out for.
Cervical cancer is the fourth most common cancer in women and people with cervixes. In 2018, it’s estimated over half a million people were diagnosed with cervical cancer worldwide and around 311,000 people died from the disease. These stats might sound alarming, but it’s important to remember that when caught early, cervical cancer has a very high survival rate.
The signs of cervical cancer include:
- bleeding after and during sex
- pain during sex
- bleeding between periods or after menopause and
- consistent pelvic pain.
Also be aware of your cervical mucus - if it smells a little different than usual, it could be a sign of cancer, or another reproductive health issue. Of course, one of the most important things you can do to protect yourself from cervical cancer is to attend your regular smear test - as these tests are able to identify not only early signs of cancer, but precancerous cells and signs of HPV virus too.
Although ovarian cancer is more likely to occur in people over 60, that doesn’t mean it’s not something all people with ovaries should be aware of - it is still in the top 20 most common cancers around the world!
Like many cancers, people with ovarian cancer report feeling fatigued a lot of the time and losing weight quite quickly, without meaning too.
Other signs of ovarian cancer specifically include
- persistent bloating
- persistent pain in the abdominal area and
- bleeding after menopause.
- A change in your toilet habits - either going too frequently with diarrhea or being constipated.
All of these symptoms could also be a sign of numerous, non-cancerous conditions - including endometriosis - but regardless of the root cause you should always go and see your doctor as soon as possible if you experience these symptoms, as it is definitely a sign that something isn't right.
So, for anyone not clear (because thanks traditional sex education for being so narrow and binary!) The vulva is the outside area of your genitals - basically everything you can see when you open your legs.
The good news is that vulva cancer is pretty rare and it has a pretty high survival rate. When caught early around 96% of people with the disease will beat it! But - the only way to detect it early is to know what the symptoms are.
To recognise the signs of vulvar cancer you have to get up close and personal down there. Everyone’s vulva is unique, but knowing what is ‘normal’ for you will help you spot any abnormalities. Classic signs of vulva cancer are:
- A lump on the vulva
- Raised patches that are a different color (they could be red, white or even brown)
- Persistent itching.
You might also notice blood stained discharge or burning pain when you go to the toilet. If you have any of these signs, don’t put off going to see your doctor - it might just save your life.
Another fairly uncommon gynecological cancer is cancer of the vagina. Now, whilst the vulva is everything you can see when you open your legs, the vulva is the part just inside (the cervix is even further up!) Signs of vagina cancer might not be as obvious as vulva cancer, but there are a few things you can keep and eye out for.
- Bleeding between periods or after menopause
- Bleedig after sex
- Persistent itching inside the vagina
- Burning pain when going for a pee
- A lump in the vagina
Once again, knowing your body is key when it comes to actually recognizing what is normal for you or not - which is why it encourages you to get to know your vagina as well as vulva (yet another big healthy positive of masturbation!)
Another very common gynecological cancer is cancer of the womb - also known as uterine cancer. Sadly, in the UK alone, around 7 people die of uterine cancer every day. But once again, early detection is key - around 92% of people who are diagnosed with the cancer in its earlier stages will survive for longer than 5 years (and many even beat the disease completely!)
The symptoms of womb cancer are very similar to ovarian cancer.
- bleeding after and during sex,
- pain during sex,
- bleeding between periods or after menopause
- consistent abdominal pain
- Change in your toilet habits - either too much or not enough
- A lump in the front of your pelvis
Another sign of uterine cancer is having heavier periods than normal. Culturally we are just taught to accept and ‘put up with’ painful, heavy periods - but the truth is a heavy or really uncomfortable period is usually a sign from your body that something isn’t right - so don’t ignore it!
Your vagina is a mucous membrane, which is one of the most absorbent parts of your entire body. Make sure you’re not putting anything that's full of toxins, bleach and chemicals anywhere near it - let alone in it.
You can rest assured that Lunette products are blissfully free of any nasty stuff. Shop Lunette products here!