Are British women literally dying of embarrassment when it comes to gynecological cancer? The Eve Appeal, a British non-profit cancer research organization, believes the answer is yes.
Their recent survey resulted in some startling finds concerning British women and gynecological cancers.
One standout: one in five women think cervical cancer is caused by promiscuity.
In an online poll of 1,000 women, results suggested that 25 percent of women avoid talking to their doctor about gynecological problems because, not only they are leery of being judged on their sexual history, they’re embarrassed.
Four out of 10 felt the shame is greater around uterine, ovarian, cervical, vulvar and vaginal cancers than other cancers, wrote The Guardian.
The non-profit said that its survey results show these inaccurate links between gynecological cancers and promiscuity have created a frightening stigma that could come at the cost of women’s lives.
The Eve Appeal made the point that there is no link between gynecological cancers and promiscuity.
For those who argue that sexually transmitted diseases, which are transmitted by genital contact and sexual intercourse cause gynecological cancer, the non-profit has two rebuttals.
First HPV is so common, that 80 percent of people will contract some form of the virus in their lifetime. This includes women who have only had one sexual partner, wrote Marie Claire UK.
HPV can cause cervical cancer, but having HPV is also as common as catching a cold. Infection does not imply promiscuity, Dr. Adeola Olaitan, consultant gynaecological oncologist at University College hospital, London, said in the Guardian.
Second, it’s a common misconception that STDs, including HPV, also cause ovarian or uterine cancer. “There is no know association,” said the Eve Appeal, as reported by The Guardian.
Researchers warned that a combination of things get in the way of women who should seek medical help when they do experience gynecological cancers symptoms.
A lack of knowledge about the causes of gynecological cancers is a major problem. And women disregard persistent bloating or pelvic pain and/or changes menstrual period, because they believed these things were normal for their age, wrote the Deccan Chronicle.
The Guardian reported that those who are the most reluctant to see a doctor in these instances were women between 46 and 55 years of age. Of those, one in five did not seek medical attention for symptoms they experienced.
The Eve Appeal hopes that by releasing its survey results, more people will talk about the true causes and symptoms of gynecological cancers. And the organization hopes that this will help to end the stigma that has become associated with these diseases.
The sooner any type of cancer is diagnosed, the higher the survival rate. So according to The Eve Appeal, embarrassment, stigma and reluctance to see a doctor, could be costing the lives of women.
Olaitan told Marie Claire UK, “it is a proven fact that early diagnosis of women's cancers can save lives, so it's important that we all start having honest conversations about the signs and symptoms of these diseases in order to break down the social taboos and any embarrassment that currently exist.”
"Embarrassing Symptoms Could Be Warning Signs of Gynecological Cancer, Study Says." Deccan Chronicle. Web. 12 Sept. 2015.
"Gynaecological Cancer: 'women Are Literally Dying of Embarrassment'" TheGuardian.com. Web. 14 Sept. 2015.
Keane, Kiara. "1 In 5 Women Think Cervical Cancer Is Caused By Sleeping Around." Marie Claire. Web. 12 Sept. 2015.
Meikle, James. "Stigma around Gynecological Cancer Stopping Women from Visiting GP." The Guardian. Web. 12 Sept. 2015.
Reiewed September 16, 2015
by Michele Blacksberg RN
Edited by Jody Smith