Meet Talk Peach, The Gynaecological Organisation Calling For Awareness

by Georgia

Talk Peach, the Gynaecological Charity that should really be a household name. Founder, Tash Crosby, launched the organisation because well, she’s been there, after being diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2016. 

September is Gynaecological Cancer Month, so over the next few weeks we will be sharing resources, stories and sharing our platform with Talk Peach, in the hopes that it will in turn, get you talking too.

What should women know about gynaecological cancers? 

Did you know there are five of them? 

 

  • Cervical
  • Ovarian
  • Uterine 
  • Vaginal
  • Vulval

 

Most of us have heard of cervical cancer, because of our national three yearly screening program, but as for the other four types (ovarian, uterine, vaginal and vulval) there is no screening available and until recently little information publicly on them.

 

The statistics are grim. Every year 1000 women in New Zealand are diagnosed with one of the five gynaecological cancers and approximately 400 women in New Zealand will die from one, 1 woman dying every 48 hours from ovarian cancer alone. 

 

There are no screening tools for 4 out of the 5 gynaecological cancers. Yet the majority of New Zealanders think their recommended 3 yearly cervical smear keeps them safe. Your cervical smear tests only for changes to cells in the cervix it does NOT screen for the other 4 gynaecological cancers

 

Alarmingly our gynaecological death rate is higher than both melanoma and our annual road toll. 

What is the most important thing women can do to look after their health in this area?

Knowing the signs and symptoms and acting on them!

Many women assume that ovarian and other reproductive cancers are “silent killers,” meaning they don’t cause any symptoms. “The truth is, these cancers do have symptoms and warning signs, they’re not silent, It’s time to be talking and talking loudly about the signs and symptoms.

Its frightening women aren’t aware of how to take care of their gynaecological health!

Women must educate themselves on the signs and symptoms of the 5 gynaecological cancers, feel confident to seek medical advice, know ‘their’ normal and  not compare their health to the health of others- you know your body and what’s normal for you better than anyone else, its frightening but it really is the key to early diagnosis and ultimately survival

 

Some of the most common signs to look out for are:

 

  • Abnormal bleeding: bleeding after sex/bleedding between periods/post menopausal bleeding
  • Abdominal pain or discomfort
  • Changes in vaginal discharge
  • Back pain
  • Pain during sex
  • Changes in bowel habits: diarrhoea/constipation 
  • Eating habits:Feeling full quickly
  • Urgency/frequency to pee
  • Changes to the appearance of skin on the vagina/vulva
  • Fatigue
  • Persistent bloating
  • Indigestion

We often think of gynaecological health as just one big thing, but in fact these 5 cancers are separate and they all have their own individual signs and symptoms. Please check out our website for more information on the individual cancers their signs, symptoms and risk factors. 

 

Never ever feel silly for seeking medical advice! Gynaecological cancer doesn’t discriminate, it affects people of all ages from teens through to post menopause.

What is Talk Peach about? What are your hopes for Talk Peach? 

Talk Peach is a registered New Zealand charity founded by a survivor and run by survivors in order ensure there are more survivors.

 

Our vision is to inform New Zealanders on gynaecological disease and connect and support those who are diagnosed.

 

There are major gaps in public awareness, and we find that extremely terrifying!

 

Our mission moving forward is to:

 

  • To provide support and education on gynaecological health
  • To educate the community on the signs and symptoms of the 5 gynaecological cancers in order to reduce late stage diagnosis
  • To provide information and support to all women diagnosed with gynaecological cancers
  • To fund research into gynaecological cancer treatment and cures

Talking taboos and putting an end to a culture of silence and stigma around gynaecological health is a huge part of what we are about at Talk Peach.

 

We want to encourage all people to have honest, open and frank conversations with loved ones, to empower people to take charge of their bodies and break down fears around acting upon health issues and seeking help- when it comes to gynaecological health there isn’t time to have a she’ll be right or ‘I don’t want to be a whinger’ attitude. 

 

We believe It’s time to smash the taboos which still exist and squash that stigma which prevents potentially life-saving conversations.

Where can women going through gynaecological cancer find support?

To us! www.talkpeach.org.nz , We have an amazing educational website, instagram @talk_peach and facebook page ‘Talk Peach Gynaecological Foundation’

Get in touch, our founder/director and one of our board members have both battled gynaecological cancer we know the ins and outs of where to go and who is available to support. 

 

What would you tell women who are worried something isn’t right with their health?

It’s time we put our gynaecological health at the top of our to do lists. Gynaecological cancers can become very hard to treat when they progress. 

If you have noticed a change and its been there for 2 weeks, book in with your GP, don’t hesitate

YOU KNOW YOUR NORMAL. IF ITS NOT NORMAL FOR YOU DON’T EVER  FEEL SILLY, GET CHECKED OUT. Its your body you know it better than anyone else, advocate for it.

Go to our website we have a GP section, with advice on what to expect when you visit the doctor with a gynaecological concern, we have a list of questions for you to ask, and a list of questions they will possibly ask you. Remember you can always take a support person. 

We cannot stress the importance of acting upon changes and concerns. It’s what saved our lives. DON’T EVER feel silly about getting something that’s bothering you checked out by your GP, you get one body, ADVOCATE FOR IT.

If your symptoms persist after a visit to your GP please return or seek a 2nd opinion.

 

What would you tell women who are worried something isn’t right with their health?

Firstly from a survivor, I send you so much love, I’ve been there I know the sheer terror, and the isolation that comes with a gynaecological cancer. 

I founded this charity for you,  please get in touch with us.

Surround yourself with people who love you. Please also know that we hope to spread awareness far and wide so that people like yourself are given the support they need

It’s imperative we are talking

It’s time to TALK PEACH xx A cervical smear is not a WOF for your gynaecological  health

This year please think about donating to Talk Peach and be part of the movement to support gynaecological health, we think it’s about time. 

We welcome donations, collaborations, product for fundraising, sharing our mahi. 

Words: Tash Crosby, Founder of Talk Peach 
Images: Talk Peach

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