Pink Ladies highlight signs and symptoms of gynaecological cancers

Pink Ladies Cancer Support Group has urged everyone to be aware of the symptoms and signs of gynaecological cancers.

Monday, September 20 was World GO Day – an international awareness day to raise awareness around gynaecological cancers, also referred to as endometrial or womb cancer.To coincide with the awareness day, the Irish Network of Gynaecological Oncology developed the World GO Day ‘Dip or Dance’ campaign to raise awareness of how people can reduce risk of uterine cancer and the importance of acting on potential early signs or symptoms. Pink Ladies, an INGO member, undertook the Dip at Ludden Beach for the campaign.The local group has highlighted a recent survey of 511 women commissioned by the INGO, which shows that one in four women are not aware of Uterine Cancer; three in five women in Ireland cannot name any of the signs or symptoms; three in ten women do not make the link between being a healthy weight and reducing the risk and one in three of women do not make the link between physical activity and reducing the risk. The recent average annual incidence of Uterine cancers diagnosed in Ireland is 540, making it the most common gynaecological cancer and the fifth most common cancer in women in Ireland (excluding non-melanoma skin cancer). Symptoms for uterine cancer include abnormal vaginal bleeding or discharge and pelvic pain or pressure.Uterine cancer is often diagnosed early and the recent five-year survival rates are 78. The majority of uterine cancers arise from the lining of the uterus/womb known as the endometrium. The term endometrial cancer is often used in these cases. Risk factors for this cancer type can include age and genetics. Uterine cancer risk can be reduced by being active and maintaining a healthier body weight.A 5-10% weight reduction can reduce the chances of uterine/endometrial cancers and the recurrence of the disease.Several factors may increase the chance that you will get uterine cancer, including if you are older than 50. are overweight/obese; take estrogen by itself (without progesterone) for hormone replacement during menopause; have had trouble getting pregnant, or have had fewer than five periods in a year before starting menopause; take tamoxifen, a drug used to prevent and treat certain types of breast cancer; have close family members who have had uterine, colon, or ovarian cancer. If one or more of the above is true for you, it does not mean you will get uterine cancer but you should be more aware and should speak to your doctor.

Juliette Casey from the Emer Casey Foundation and a member of the INGO, said, “When Emer passed away in 2006 aged only 28 from uterine/ovarian cancer we did not know a great deal about any of the gynaecological cancers. We now know that, in some uterine cancers, something occurs to create a genetic mutation within cells in the endometrium. The Emer Casey Foundation looks forward to working with scientists to help our understanding

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of genetic pathways to uterine cancer.”

The Pink Ladies, pictured during their dip at Ludden Beach in Buncrana to raise awareness of gynaecological cancers.

See www.thisisGO.ie for more information.