I’ve just come back from a gorgeous trip to Paris – the sun was shining but the leaves were turning and all the shops had signs up for ‘La Rentree’, that ‘re-entry’ period signalling the end of summer, time to think about school and a returning to learning.
Speaking of learning:
Did you know that September is Gynae Cancer Awareness month?
In October, everything seems to turn pink for Breast Cancer Awareness month, but there is much less of a conversation about gynaecological cancers, which is unfortunate as thousands of women are affected each year. Treatments have improved significantly over the past decade, so many more women are living with the after effects of cancer treatment – pelvic pain, urinary and bowel dysfunction, sexual health issues, bone health compromises and cardiovascular dysfunction. Despite a good and growing body of evidence on the benefits of pelvic rehab, the number of women sent for aftercare is just too small. Maybe its because of a lack of awareness on the benefits or a lack of providers in their area, because sometimes the oncology physiotherapists are worried about dealing with pelvic health and the pelvic health physios are worried about dealing with cancer issues?
One of the first steps towards improving this situation is talking about it and I’m delighted and honoured to be doing exactly that at this year’s International Pelvic Pain Society annual meeting in Chicago in October. The IPPS has been described as a giant pelvic floor high school reunion so if you are interested in taking your knowledge deeper in pelvic pain with some of the best international speakers out there – come and join us! There will also be the opportunity to join us for round table discussions over lunch – I’m honoured to be co-moderating one with Dr Jen Gunter! I was interviewed recently by The Pelvic Messenger radio show about this topic – you can have a preview of what I’ll be talking about in Chicago. I hope to see you there!
Of course, we want to not only spread awareness in the medical community about the benefits of pelvic rehab but also empower women with education about their own bodies. One of the earliest signs/ symptoms of vulvar or vaginal cancer can be skin changes in the genitals. Most women know the importance of regular self breast exams, but how many are doing regular vulvar self exams? (Are you? Do you know how?)
I’ve put together a handout on ‘How to do a Vulvar self-exam’ which you can access for free in the ‘Resources’ section on my website – let’s spread awareness of the importance of knowing what’s normal and encourage women to follow up when somethings not right.
If you’re interested in going a bit deeper into Oncology and the Pelvic Floor, I’ll be teaching Oncology and the Male Pelvic Floor in Salt Lake City in October and Oncology and the Female Pelvic Floor in Chicago next April through Herman & Wallace, The Pelvic Rehab Institute
Let’s keep the conversation going about spreading awareness of Gynae Cancer and its treatment – not just for September!
I hope I get to see you at one of my live events but if not, come and join the conversation on social media: you can follow my professional page on facebook Michelle Lyons Celebrate Muliebrity, where I curate news items on women’s health and if you are a physio, come and join our clinical group, Global Pelvic Physio. I’m a sporadic tweeter (but trying to get better!) – you can find me on Twitter as @mlyonspt