A couple of years ago, my friend from college Karen, told me one evening that she had abnormal bleeding from her vagina. My initial thought was, why is she telling me this? Why is she making me feel uncomfortable? Does she not have a female friend that she can talk to? But after all of about ten seconds at the very most, I got over myself and learned that it wasn’t about me, this was about her and the ways in which I could support her.
Karen was waiting for her diagnosis for two weeks, and during that time we spoke a lot about it. I was glad that I could be there to help her, whilst she was waiting for her diagnosis. Unfortunately, it turned out that Karen was diagnosed with cervical cancer. Having spoken to Karen in the two weeks running up to her diagnosis, I felt relaxed and comfortable in speaking to her about vaginas and gynaecological cancers. Which is why I think it’s important that we do speak about this as men to women, our mothers, our sisters, our friends. Hopefully it won’t, but someday it might affect them and in turn will affect you.