A TULLA-based oncology nurse, and ovarian cancer survivor, is urging women not to ignore the warning signs of gynaecological cancers.
Anne Murphy, who is a member of the team at Clare Cancer Support, said that research shows many women are not aware of symptoms and don’t seek medical advice in time.
“Early diagnosis is so important for a good prognosis,” Ms Murphy said. “I myself was diagnosed with early stage ovarian cancer in 2012.”
The call comes ahead of World Gynaecologic Oncology Day on Sunday, when a number of buildings, including The Rock of Cashel and The National University of Ireland Galway (NUIG) will light up in purple.
“Clare Cancer Support are delighted to participate in this World Awareness Day,” Ms Murphy said, which is about raising awareness of gynaecological cancers, cervical, ovarian, uterine, vaginal and vulval. Womens’ gynaecological cancers are poorly represented in the public arena and this needs to change. Most gynaecological cancers have symptoms but research has shown that women are not aware of these symptoms and delay seeking medical advice.”
Ms Murphy said that knowing the possible symptoms is essential and that women should be vigilant for signs of possible cancers, including pelvic pain or pressure; abdominal or back pain; more frequent need to urinate and/or constipation; changes in skin colour such as rash, sores or warts.
“If they have any of theses symptoms for two weeks or longer or have vaginal bleeding that is not normal for you to see your GP promptly,” Ms Murphy advised. “Some womens’ cancers are preventable, for example cervical cancer, by participating in the cervical screening programme and the HPV vaccine programme #Thankyoulaura . The HPV vaccine protects against the types of HPV that cause nine out of 10 cervical cancers. We would encourage parents of first year students to consent to their children getting this vaccine. Women need reminding to look after themselves. Gynaecological health is an area we must prioritise.”
Further information is available from Clare Cancer Support on 087-6912396.