Thursday, September 23, 2021
September is Gynaecological Cancer Awareness Month and to support this we have asked Tash Crosby from Talk Peach to share her story.
Family Planning recognises the importance of organisations like Talk Peach who are advocating for gynaecological health and awareness and we fully support their important work.
Tash Crosby is the founder of Talk Peach, New Zealand’s leading gynaecological cancer charity, founded and run by ovarian cancer survivors.
As an ovarian cancer survivor, Tash is aware of what needs to happen in order to educate the public. She is dedicated to raising public awareness of gynaecological disease in order to reduce the horrific rates of late stage diagnosis, to connect and support those who are suffering, and to ensure that others are better equipped to advocate for their health.
Upon being diagnosed with ovarian cancer at age 37, Tash was shocked by the lack of public awareness regarding gynaecological disease.
Tash in her own words:
“I was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in January 2017.
I had regular smears, cancer was the last thing on my mind when I began to notice changes to my normal.
Symptoms that were present:
- Back pain
- Period pain seemed different to usual
- Peeing more regularly
- Painful bowel movements
- Change in discharge.
I took myself to the emergency department three times. I was extremely lucky that I had a GP who urged me to do this and gave me the confidence to do so.
It was on my 3rd visit that I cried and pleaded for further testing. Prior to this I was advised it was an endometrial cyst. I knew something was wrong, this was different to the endometriosis I had suffered with for years.
I underwent two major surgeries- I lost my ovaries, my cervix, my uterus, my ability to have a family.
After this came six months of a very gruelling chemotherapy regimen with two chemotherapy drugs for a very insidious cancer. I was thrust into menopause.
The effects of my cancer will be with me for my lifetime.
It’s heart-breaking that gynaecological cancers remain largely in the dark. A recent survey of people diagnosed with ovarian cancer found that 90% of them couldn't name a single symptom prior to their diagnosis. When I was diagnosed in 2017, I had never even heard of it. My whanau had never heard of it.
It was a very isolating time, it really did feel like I got the cancer that no one was talking about, that it was shameful.
I founded Talk Peach to make a difference to make sure my survival was not in vain. I want to give back to my community. I've worked as an educator for years and feel a responsibility to pass on my knowledge and educate. To save those the isolation I faced upon diagnosis. The vision is to grow the organisation so that it continues to make change and support on a large scale for a long time, for all New Zealanders long after I am gone.
We can't do it alone, and I truly thank you for all of the support you have shown. It has brought me to tears many times.”
Information on Talk Peach
Talk Peach hope to empower people to take charge of their bodies, break down fears around acting upon gynaecological health issues and open up an urgently needed dialogue.
Did you know there were 5 gynaecological cancers?
1 New Zealander dies every day from a gynaecological cancer.
To inform New Zealanders on gynaecological disease and connect and support those who are diagnosed.
- To provide education on gynaecological health
- To educate the community on the signs and symptoms of the 5 gynaecological cancers in order to reduce late diagnosis
- To provide information and support to all those diagnosed with gynaecological cancers
- To support those involved with life-saving research into gynaecological cancer treatment and cures.
- To advocate for better funding into: education and awareness, research, clinical trials, access to medications, and better pathways to diagnostic testing.
It's imperative we are talking. Check out www.talkpeach.org.nz for more life saving info or be an uber supporter and donate via their website to save lives today!
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