1 in 3 people can’t name a single type of gynaecological cancer- let’s Get Lippy to change that

Our Get Lippy survey (Yougov, April 2022) found out that only 2% of the population know all five gynaecological cancers. We are Getting Lippy and Loud about gynae cancers this month because we want everyone to know all of the gynae cancers and the signs and symptoms to look out for.

There are five gynaecological cancers: womb, ovarian, cervical, vulval and vagina, and together they affect 21,000 women and people with gynae organs each year in the UK. Yet 1 in 3 can’t name a single one. We are here to change that!

Our Get Lippy survey found that the gynae cancer with the highest awareness, by far, was cervical- which over 60% of people could name. Yet, despite this, fewer than half (45%) knew the key red flag symptom to look out for, bleeding after sex.

Getting diagnosed at the earliest stage possible makes all the difference to the outcome people face when it comes to a cancer diagnosis, and to achieve this we need everyone to not just be aware of the cancers, but to know what symptoms to look out for and to get checked by a doctor.

Two of the other gynae cancers are more common than cervical, yet fare worse in terms of symptoms awareness. Womb cancer is the most common, and cases are on the rise. Recent research estimated that 1 in 36 women and people with gynae organs who were born after 1960 will be diagnosed with womb cancer at some point in their lives. Yet, only 32% of people know that abnormal vaginal bleeding is a key symptom that needs to get checked.

The next most common gynae cancer, ovarian, is also lagging behind, with only a third (33%) of people knowing that persistent bloating is a key symptom.

We want everyone to Get Lippy so that everyone knows the five gynaecological cancers: womb, ovarian, cervical, vulval and vaginal, and everyone knows the key symptoms to look out for:

  • abnormal vaginal bleeding (between periods, after sex, after the menopause or much heavier than is normal for you)
  • persistent bloating (for 3 weeks or more that doesn’t come and go)
  • changes to bowel habits (feeling full quickly or nauseous)
  • changes to discharge (if it has a foul smell, or is ‘bloody’, that is pink, red or brown)
  • a persistent vulval or vaginal itch and any changes to the look or feel of the vulva and vagina (a lump, an open sore, or thickened and raised, lighter or darker patches of skin). 

To help spread the awareness we want everyone to Get Lippy and Loud, not just for themselves and their health, but for the ones they love. When it comes to health, knowledge is power. So get involved with Get Lippy by starting a conversation with someone you love, and pass on our gynae health information.

To help open up life-saving conversations, we have created a set of conversation starters:

  1. When did you first learn about periods and how? Was this before you started your own period, and how long before?  
  2. What’s your ‘first period’ story?’ 
  3. What did your parent(s)/carer(s) refer to the vulva as and from what age? 
  4. Can you remember when you first learned that the vulva is called the vulva and was it talked about as though it was rude to mention? 
  5. Did you have sex education at school that included health and gynaecological issues? 
  6. When did your sex education at school start and was everyone included?  
  7. Do you have any sex education stories? 
  8. Do you know how many gynaecological cancers there are and can you name them? 
  9. Would you feel confident labelling a diagram of the gynae anatomy? 
  10. Have you had a cervical screening test before? How did you find it? 
  11. What was something you thought was true when you were younger, that you have now found out is a myth, when it comes to gynae health? 
  12. Do you know how many of the gynae cancers are linked to inherited genetic conditions? (run in the family)  
  13. Do you know what cervical screening checks for? Do you still call it a smear test and did you think this was something different? 
  14. Were you told about the importance of checking your breasts/chest for lumps? Were you also told the importance of checking your genitals?  
  15. What would you do if you had some vaginal bleeding outside of your monthly menstrual cycle (if you do have regular periods)? 
  16. What do you know about HPV and the cancers it is associated with?  
  17. Who do you think is at risk of HPV infection? 
  18. Do you think there is a stigma attached to having a gynae health problem?  
  19. What’s one bit of gynae information that you wish you had known when you were growing up?  
  20. What’s the advice or information that you would like to share with friends about gynae health?

Follow us on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter @eveappeal to see, save and share gynae cancer information all through the month of May.

You can also get involved with Get Lippy by purchasing any of the supporting products which are donating at least 10% of sales through May to help fund research and raise awareness to make gynaecological cancers diseases of the past. Find the full list of products on this link.