Women should be more body aware

The Eve Appeal is encouraging women to open up about gynaecological issues and start what could be a life-saving conversation.
The Eve Appeal is encouraging women to open up about gynaecological issues and start what could be a life-saving conversation.

A worrying number of Scottish women have little knowledge of their gynaecological anatomy leading to fears that the signs of cancer could be missed.

When shown a medical drawing of the female reproductive system, just over a third of women could correctly label six different parts.

However, 48 per cent could not identify the vagina and 58 per cent the vulva.

In addition, one in eight were unable to name a single gynaecological cancer.

The figures have been released for Gynaecological Cancer Awareness Month (GCAM) by the Eve Appeal, the UK’s leading gynaecological cancer charity.

The Eve Appeal is calling on women to get to know their bodies better as it may just save their lives.

When asked to label the male anatomy six out of ten women could correctly identify the foreskin, penis and testes, but by contrast just over a third (35 per cent) of women surveyed could correctly label the female anatomy.

The Eve Appeal’s Specialist Gynaecological Cancer Information Nurse, Tracie Miles, said: “Body knowledge is vital from the time young girls begin to experience puberty, to their first sexual experience right through to motherhood and eventually the menopause.

“However, the lack of basic knowledge about the female body or conversations around how the female anatomy works, is extremely worrying - how can we expect women to know what to look out for in terms of unexpected changes in their vagina or vulva or to be aware of the signs and symptoms of a gynaecological cancer, if they’re not body aware.

“It is a proven fact that early diagnosis of women’s cancers can save lives, therefore it really is never too early to start educating young girls about their bodies by having frank, honest conversations with them, rather than hiding behind embarrassment or taboo.”

Globally there are one million new cases of gynaecological cancers every year and 500,000 women will die this year as a result of vulval, vaginal, cervical, womb or ovarian cancer – just 28,000 fewer than breast cancer.

Athena Lamnisos, CEO of The Eve Appeal, added: “Body confidence is important, but body knowledge is absolutely vital, and our research has shown that women don’t know their vaginas from their vulvas.

“We’re imploring women to understand and be aware of what to listen out for. They need to know what’s normal for them. They need to be able to talk openly about periods, irregular bleeding and any changes that they notice to their bodies.

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Taylor Wimpey have confirmed directly with local Councillor Nathan Wilson that the organisation retains its commitment to building a park and ride at Shieldmuir Train Station. In response to recent enquiries made by Councillor Wilson, Taylor Wimpey have advised that engagement is taking place with Network Rail over the latter’s approval procedures and that once this process is complete, work will be able to begin on site. The developer has informed the Motherwell Councillor that during the period of investigation undertaken since the commencement of building work was delayed in January 2018, an unrecorded service chamber has been discovered on site. The project cannot move forward until further clarification is provided on the nature of the service chamber and Taylor Wimpey are in the process of commissioning a contractor to assess the situation. The developer’s initial judgement is that this is likely a redundant service. A senior representative of the organisation has also informed Councillor Wilson that a member of the Taylor Wimpey production team will be sent out to inspect the vacant land following a request he made at the beginning of 2019 for maintenance work to be carried out on site should construction of the park and ride remain some time away. Councillor Nathan Wilson said: “Taylor Wimpey have communicated to me directly that the park and ride facility is a project that the organisation remains committed to delivering. “However, it goes without saying that the lengthy delay is still very disappointing and frustrating. “An unrecorded service chamber has been identified on site and progress is unable to be made until this has been investigated. “Taylor Wimpey have relayed to me that an on-site inspection of the vacant land will take place and I hold to the view that maintenance work should be carried out in the short term to improve it’s current condition. “I will continue to engage with the relevant stakeholders and re-inforce to them the importance of the park and ride project locally. Motherwell and Wishaw CAB takes home 40 per cent of the prizes

“That is why, at The Eve Appeal, we’re determined to change this by asking women across the UK to get to know their bodies this September and beyond.”