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*Photograph: Paschal Brooks

On September 20, Clare Cancer support Sláinte an Chláir are uniting with doctors and to raise awareness about gynaecological cancers.

Over 1,300 women are diagnosed in Ireland annually with a gynaecological cancer (NCRI 2020 Annual Report), representing 12% of all female cancers. The key messages of this year’s campaign are Information is power, but communication is the solution!

A spokesperson for Sláinte An Chláir told The Clare Echo, “We at Clare cancer support would like women to become more informed on the signs and symptoms of the various gynaecological cancers which include cervix, ovarian, uterine vaginal and vulvar. Awareness is important because early diagnosis is key for good treatments and better outcomes. We understand that some women delay going to their doctors as they do not recognise their symptoms as serious. The gold mark advise is if symptoms persist for two weeks or longer go to your doctor and get it checked out. It is important not to panic if a woman is experiencing these symptoms but the only way to be sure is to get checked out by your doctor. We also know that women are sometimes shy or embarrassed to ask about gynae-related intimate health issues. We hope by sharing this information that it starts a conversation and improves knowledge around female reproductive health.”

The spokesperson stressed that if something physically “has changed” to get it checked out with their doctor. “Conversations need to be had so that all women know there are 5 types of Gynae cancers. We at Sláinte an Chláir encourage all women to take up the invite for their cervical screening check, we encourage parents to support their children in getting the HPV vaccine which we know is effective in the prevention of most cervical cancers. We want women to know that the cervical smear does not check out a woman’s ovaries so not to be complacent if they experience bloating, frequency to urinate, constipation, new abdominal or back pain or bloating or feeling full quickly. And finally any unexplained vaginal bleeding warrants a GP visit.”

Purple is the colour of World GO day, Arás Contae an Chlár have agreed to light up on Sept 20 in support of the campaign.

Part of the Irish Network for Gynaecological Oncology, Sláinte an Chláir have many supports in place for women diagnosed, living with, or recovering from a gynaecological cancer to include counselling, cancer nurse support, lymphoedema management, physiotherapist led exercise classes, group meditation and coping skills, transport to hospital appointments and information.

Contact Clare cancer support, Sláinte an Chláir 087 6912396, FB Clare Cancer Support.

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