A new poll from The Eve Appeal, a cancer research charity, has revealed that 50 percent of men are unable to point to the vagina on a diagram. The survey of 1,000 men came out just before September’s Gynaecological Cancer Awareness month after serious concerns over women’s vaginal health.
The most alarming part of the poll was the attitude men have towards talking about gynecological issues. Out of the men who were surveyed, 24 percent admitted to feeling slightly uncomfortable when talking about the subject. When questioned, why 21 percent of 18-44 year-olds explained they would be “too embarrassed”.
Although there are conversations about other types of cancer that affect women, such as breast cancer, it would be a struggle to say the same for gynecological cancer. This is likely due to the lack of awareness and stigma behind talking about women’s bodies, as well as the little sex education provided in schools.
For context, Eve Appeal reported last year that 44 percent of females could not identify the vagina on a drawing of the female reproductive system and 60 percent did not know where the vulva is.
There are five types of what is known as gynecological cancer, which includes ovarian, cervical, vulva, vaginal, and the womb. Every year, around 7,000 women die due to gynecological cancer, with it being the fourth most common amongst women in the UK. Ovarian cancer is the eighth most common cancer for women in the US.
The Eve Appeal suggests that men have a part to play in busting taboos and encouraging awareness to improve prevention. Signs to look out for include, skin change, unusual bleeding, pain during sex, or unpleasant smells.
“For too many men, women’s bodies are still a taboo subject, shrouded in mystery,” said Eve Appeal chief executive Athena Lamnisos. “We know from the many calls that we receive at The Eve Appeal from men that they can play a vital role in identifying the symptoms, prompting their partners to visit the GP. Early diagnosis really is key and can save lives.”
“This is not about having better sex. It’s about men helping women to look after their health,” added Lamnisos. “Gynae awareness and taboo-busting are all of our responsibility, men and women alike.”