It’s vitally important to #KnowYourBody

Here at #TeamEve we are passionate about driving awareness, educating people and preventing all of the five gynaecological cancers; womb, ovarian, cervical, vulval and vaginal.

It’s about telling it like it is. Being open, honest and straight talking!

It’s about ensuring that the signs and symptoms of gynaecological cancers are known so they can be diagnosed early and lives can be saved.

If people don’t know what gynae cancers are, how will they be able to identify when something is wrong? How will they feel empowered to speak to a doctor and stop gynaecological cancer in its all too often brutal tracks?

Creating a ‘Know your Body’ movement

Since 2016 our work has sat under the campaign umbrella of three very important words.

The ‘Know Your Body’ campaign is a very loud call to action, in fact a ROAR to action to empower and educate everyone on gynaecological health.

It’s about changing perceptions. We may lead the campaign, but we all have a role to play in this. It’s about gaining support from outside sources such as health organisations, media, medical professionals, opinion formers and the general public.

And it’s working. Our #KnowYourBody hashtag has been used by Macmillan Cancer Support, Jo’s Trust, Volunteers’ Week, Stop Cancer Now, Ovacome, Relate and a number of television doctors and celebrities.

“We must all work together to raise awareness of the symptoms and signs of gynaecological cancer, and break down the mentality that gynaecological health is a taboo subject. By encouraging both women and men to talk about gynaecological health, we can start to reduce the number of women who die from gynaecological cancer.” – Professor Janice Rymer, The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists’ (RCOG) Vice President of Education

We want people to know that saying the word vagina is not brave  – it is normal. We need to smash the stigmas that still surround gynaecological health so that we know our bodies and can speak about them without shame.

For Gynaecological Cancer Awareness Month 2016, we undertook research that revealed a shockingly low understanding of the female genitalia, with 44% of women unable to identify the vagina on an anatomical diagram; with 60% also unable to identify a vulva on the same diagram.

This demonstrated that many women simply do not know their bodies, with many not even calling the vagina by its real name but using a euphemism due to embarrassment.

We created the ‘It’s just a Vagina’ badge to highlight the importance of using the correct terminology.  This got people talking, that’s for sure!

The-Eve-Appeal-Vagina-Badge

Gynaecological health is everyone’s responsibility – it’s not just women’s troubles.

Vaginas. Vulvas. Irregular bleeding. Bloating, Discharge. Menopause.  They are not dirty words. They are part of life.

The-Eve-Appeal-Vagina-Vulva

Media highlights included pieces in national press such as Daily Mirror, Independent, Daily Mail and The Sun. Consumer and online coverage included pieces on The Pool, Huffington Post and Teen Vogue.

Our gynae health quiz based on the female anatomy played a huge part in the development of the campaign and gave people an opportunity to share their results across social media; so much as a similar adaptation of our quiz was also replicated online by national newspaper the Metro.

Our 2017 theme focused on men with the launch of ‘I am Adam.

We know that for every ‘Eve’ there is an ‘Adam’ – a father, partner, son or friend who walks the gynae cancer road with the woman. Each day, we posted stories of one of our 30 ‘Adams’ on our website and across social media. We launched new findings highlighting the lack of understanding that men have when it comes to gynae health and how men can play a vital role by knowing the signs and symptoms. This received widespread media coverage across national, broadcast and online press.

In September 2017 we held a panel event at The Mintel in London. The theme was ‘Talking Taboos on Women’s Health’ and brought together a stellar panel of experts and an audience of over 150 people who came together for an evening of straight talking. All agreed more needs to be done to smash through the stigma that still surrounds gynaecological health.

‘There’s a woeful lack of education for women and girls surrounding women’s health issues. This leads to embarrassment and a lack of awareness which can ultimately cost lives. It’s vital that women feel they can talk openly about these issues – future generations must be better informed.’ – Paula Sherriff MP

The Know Your Body message is one of the most important call to actions we can all share.

Women need to feel able to talk about gynaecological health in the same way they would if they had a painful arm or leg. Our campaign aim is for every woman to be able to use the correct terminology for their female genitalia. To be confident enough to act when something doesn’t feel right.

We don’t want women to die of embarrassment. To Know Your Body is the first step in ensuring nobody does. It’s not about being beach ready, or showing your body, but to really know it from the inside out.

The planning is now underway for 2018 and beyond. Each year, a different theme with the same vital message.

 #KnowYourBody #GynaeCancer