Deadly shame

Embarrassment about gynecological cancers is costing women’s lives

Helga Weber/Flickr (CC BY-ND 2.0)

All types of gynecological cancer can be cured if they are detected at an early stage, but many women delay seeking treatment until it is too late, says gynaecological oncologist Adeola Olaitan. Some fail to recognize the significance of symptoms like abdominal bloating and swelling, she told The Guardian, but others put off seeing their doctor because of embarrassment. Olaitan points to a survey by The Eve Appeal cancer charity, which found that 39 percent of UK women believe that there is a greater stigma associated with gynecological cancer than other types of cancer. (The survey also found half of young women – aged 16-25 – could not locate the vagina on a medical diagram.) One in five women surveyed linked gynecological cancer to promiscuity. “These assumptions are baseless and we as healthcare professionals need to work harder to debunk the myths around gynecological cancers,” Olaitan writes. “We need to talk more openly about the genital tract and reproductive health.”

Read the full story at The Guardian.

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