Half of young women unable to ‘locate vagina’ and 65% find it difficult to say the word

Research for gynaecological cancer awareness month shows worrying face of women’s knowledge of diseases’ warning signs

Half of young women are unable to properly label a vagina on a medical diagram, while 65 per cent have admitted they have a problem simply using the words vagina or vulva.

As Gynaecological cancer awareness month kicks off, research by the Eve Appeal unearths worrying information about young women’s awareness of their own bodies and the potential warning signs of the five cancers that can affect the womb, ovaries, vulva, vagina, and cervix.

Only half of the 1,000 women surveyed between the ages of 26 and 35 were able to label the vagina accurately, whereas women age between 66 and 75 scored far better; eight in 10 were able to able ovaries and nine in 10 could label the womb.

Of the youngest women surveyed, one in five aged between 16 and 26 were unable to name a single correct symptom of any of the five gynaecological cancers, while nearly 40 per cent of this age group said they used codes names to discuss any issues, referring to “lady parts” or “women’s bits” instead of using the term vagina.

READ MORE: Feminist artistic underwear gives a biology lesson

The issue of feeling embarrassment around gynaecological issues have also been found to hinder women from seeking help with doctors. More than one in 10 women aged 16 to 35 said they find it difficult to discuss gynaecological issues with their GP, an nearly a third said they had completely avoided visiting a doctor when they’ve had an issue due to feeling embarrassed.

“We know our own bodies and if something is happing that isn’t normal for a person, then tehy just need to get it checked out; it doesn’t mean it’s going to be anything bad, but it just needs checking,” a spokesperson for the charity said.

The Eve Appeal said that more than 20 per cent of women don’t attend a Smear when invited by their GP, and that the number of people having the screening is declining, despite the awareness created by Jade Goody before her death.  

Helena Morrissey, chairman of the charity, said: “At the Eve Appeal we know how important it is to promote straight talking about the signs and symptoms of gynaecological cancers to women of all ages, and this survey has highlighted just how far we still have to go to make this happen.

“These cancers have some of the worst outcomes for women, with a 40% mortality rate. Understanding the symptoms will save lives, which is why we are urging women this Gynaecological Cancer Awareness Month to talk more openly about these life-saving issues.”

Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebooks
ebookA delicious collection of 50 meaty main courses
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Recruitment Genius: Sales Executive - OTE £45,000

    £18000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Sales Executive is required t...

    Recruitment Genius: Test Development Engineer

    £35000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you inspired to bring new a...

    Recruitment Genius: Trainee Motor Engineer

    £14000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

    Recruitment Genius: Technical Administrator

    £15000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company are a world leadin...

    Day In a Page

    Syria civil war: The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of this endless conflict

    The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of Syria's endless civil war

    Sahar Qanbar lost her mother and brother as civilians and government soldiers fought side by side after being surrounded by brutal Islamist fighters. Robert Fisk visited her in Latakia
    9 best women's festival waterproofs

    Ready for rain: 9 best women's festival waterproofs

    These are the macs to keep your denim dry and your hair frizz-free(ish)
    On your feet! Spending at least two hours a day standing reduces the risk of heart attacks, cancer and diabetes, according to new research

    On your feet!

    Spending half the day standing 'reduces risk of heart attacks and cancer'
    Liverpool close in on Milner signing

    Liverpool close in on Milner signing

    Reds baulk at Christian Benteke £32.5m release clause
    With scores of surgeries closing, what hope is there for the David Cameron's promise of 5,000 more GPs and a 24/7 NHS?

    The big NHS question

    Why are there so few new GPs when so many want to study medicine?
    Big knickers are back: Thongs ain't what they used to be

    Thongs ain't what they used to be

    Big knickers are back
    Thurston Moore interview

    Thurston Moore interview

    On living in London, Sonic Youth and musical memoirs
    In full bloom

    In full bloom

    Floral print womenswear
    From leading man to Elephant Man, Bradley Cooper is terrific

    From leading man to Elephant Man

    Bradley Cooper is terrific
    In this the person to restore our trust in the banks?

    In this the person to restore our trust in the banks?

    Dame Colette Bowe - interview
    When do the creative juices dry up?

    When do the creative juices dry up?

    David Lodge thinks he knows
    The 'Cher moment' happening across fashion just now

    Fashion's Cher moment

    Ageing beauty will always be more classy than all that booty
    Thousands of teenage girls enduring debilitating illnesses after routine school cancer vaccination

    Health fears over school cancer jab

    Shock new Freedom of Information figures show how thousands of girls have suffered serious symptoms after routine HPV injection
    Fifa President Sepp Blatter warns his opponents: 'I forgive everyone, but I don't forget'

    'I forgive everyone, but I don't forget'

    Fifa president Sepp Blatter issues defiant warning to opponents
    Extreme summer temperatures will soon cause deaths of up to 1,700 more Britons a year, says government report

    Weather warning

    Extreme summer temperatures will soon cause deaths of up to 1,700 more Britons a year, says government report