Press Release - September 2016 - Gynaecological Cancer Awareness Month

Kiwi Women urged to pay attention to their gynaecological health

3 women are diagnosed and 1 woman dies in New Zealand every day from a gynaecological cancer

September is Gynaecological Cancer Awareness Month.  The New Zealand Gynaecological Cancer Foundation (NZGCF) urges women to become familiar with the symptoms of the main forms of gynaecological cancers – ovarian, uterine, cervical, vaginal and vulval and to talk to their GP or health professional about their gynaecological health.

During the month of September, Gynaecological Cancer Awareness Month is represented by the TEAL ribbon (used internationally as a symbol of gynaecological cancer), and as the leading charity in this sector, NZGCF is using this key month to raise awareness of gynaecological cancers and to raise funds to support their work in this area. Women are encouraged to visit NZGCF’s website at www.nzgcf.org.nz to find resources and information about the signs, symptoms, detection and treatment of gynaecological cancers.

Three women are diagnosed and one woman dies every day in New Zealand from these cancers and we are on a mission to significantly reduce that number,” says Bridgette Jackson, General Manager of NZGCF.

Many women find it difficult to talk about ‘below the belt’ issues. We want to normalise this conversation by encouraging women to take charge of their gynaecological health – by learning the signs and symptoms of these cancers, listening to their bodies, and talking to their GP promptly when they notice that something is not quite right. The earlier that gynaecological issues are identified and dealt with, the better the outcome,” says Ms Jackson.

The most recent New Zealand statistics are from the Cancer Registry 2012:                                                  

 

Number of Patients diagnosed with a gynaecological cancer

% of total

Number of Patients who died of a gynaecological cancer

%of total

Cervical

166

16.2%

56

15%

Uterus

513

50%

121

32.4%

Ovary

266

25.9%

175

46.8%

Vulval

67

6.5%

14

3.7%

Vaginal

14

1.4%

8

2.1%

Total

1026

 

374

 

 

Dr Ai Ling Tan, Gynaecological Oncologist and NZGCF Trustee says, Regular screening and self-examinations can result in the detection of certain types of gynaecological cancer in their earlier stages, increasing the likelihood of successful treatment and the possibility for a complete cure. We are encouraged by the success of the national cervical screening programme - since its introduction the incidence of cervical cancer has decreased and survival rates have increased dramatically thanks to early detection and treatment.

“Although many of the symptoms associated with gynaecological cancers may seem common and often times are due to other causes, it is important to be in tune with your body and pay attention to any changes. If you notice new symptoms that are occurring almost daily for more than a few weeks you should seek medical attention promptly.

“It is important to be aware of your family’s history to help determine if you may have a gene that makes you more susceptible to cancer – this knowledge can increase the chance of prevention or early diagnosis.  Lifestyle choices such as diet and exercise can have a significant role in the prevention of cancer.  Even still, every woman is at risk for developing a gynaecological cancer. It is important to learn what types of cancers there are and also know their signs and symptoms so you can be proactive about your health,” says Dr Tan.

Awareness & Fundraising in September

NZGCF last week hosted their annual gala dinner fundraiser at Eden Park in Auckland to mark the start of their awareness month with Right Honourable John Key, Honourable Nikki Kaye and International Business Women Charlie Brown in attendance.

In addition to the above event, the Foundation is encouraging New Zealanders to purchase teal products that have been designed in collaboration with their team. These will be available for purchase on their website www.nzgcf.org.nz from Monday 5th September.

During September NZGCF urge women to Learn – the early warning signs of gynaecological cancers, Listen – to your body you know best what is normal for you and Act – see your doctor early.

-Ends

For further information, or to arrange an interview, please contact NZGCF’s Erica Benge – Health Promotions Educator on 09 869 2051 or educator@nzgcf.org.nz

 

Editors Notes:

The New Zealand Gynaecological Cancer Foundation is a registered charity and not for profit organisation working to raise awareness of the signs and symptoms of all gynaecological cancers - ovarian, cervical, endometrial, vulva and vaginal cancers. NZGCF aims to drive awareness during Gynaecological Cancer Awareness Month in September and prompt early detection. Visit www.nzgcf.org.nz or www.facebook.com/NZGCF to find out how to get involved.