What’s even more disheartening is the number of younger women who are coming to us saying that they were told by their GP time and time again that they were too young to have womb cancer despite having had many months if not years of unusual heavy bleeding.
You would like to think that when a women goes repeatedly to her GP with heavy bleeding that has lasted many weeks, if not months, that they take measures to rule cancer out in the first instance but sadly many don’t and when you have a GP who is the Cancer Research UK Clinical Lead for Cancer saying that “It would not be too surprising that there will be occasional cases where the diagnosis will be delayed” then you have to stop and start asking questions.
According to the recently published report from National Cancer Intelligence Network between 2010 and 2013 6491 women died as a result of womb cancer, that’s just in England. That is women who were Mothers, Daughters, Wives, Aunts, Nieces and Grandmothers.
Now we know that if womb cancer is caught early then the outcome is usually very good. But if the woman has had to endure several visits to her GP before she even gets referred for tests then the chances of the cancer being caught early drop significantly.
We try very hard to spread the word about womb cancer to women of all ages and empower them with the knowledge but what’s the point if they are then going to their GP and having their fears dismissed or being told they are too young.
A few weeks ago I was contacted by a young lady who was diagnosed at 20 years old and I know of several other women in their 20s and early 30’s who have been diagnosed. I also know of several women in their mid 40’s who were told they were “too young” to have womb cancer.
We desperately need more awareness about this cancer yet there appears to be little chance of a national awareness campaign in the near future. Just how many more women are going to die as a result of womb cancer before something is done?
Why are the lives of women who die from womb cancer not valued as much as those who die from other female cancers? I believe it’s due in part to the perception that women who get womb cancer are somehow to blame for bringing it upon themselves.
Time and again whenever there is something in the news about womb cancer (which is not very often it has to be said) the focus is always on obesity as being the cause of womb cancer. Yes, it is a contributory factor in around 40% of cases according to CRUK but there are many women who were anything but obese when they were diagnosed. It is also still seen as something that only post-menopausal women get so the image persists of womb cancer being something that only old, fat women get.
WCSUK aims to break that stereotype and we will continue to do all we can to raise much needed awareness.
How do we do this? I don’t know, but for the sake of all women who may be diagnosed with womb cancer in the future, we need to find a way to do it.
xx Kaz xx