No skirting the issue

City of Perth Lord Mayor Lisa Scaffidi with, from left, sex therapist Fai Shuster Kur, GAIN founder Kathleen Mazzella, her grand-daughter Lana Doyle (5) and chairwoman Tina Schiavello. Picture: Marcus Whisson d407585
City of Perth Lord Mayor Lisa Scaffidi with, from left, sex therapist Fai Shuster Kur, GAIN founder Kathleen Mazzella, her grand-daughter Lana Doyle (5) and chairwoman Tina Schiavello. Picture: Marcus Whisson d407585

After surviving vulval cancer 18 years ago, Ms Mazzella noticed there was plenty of support for breast cancer awareness but very little tolerance for ‘below the belt’ issues.

‘For some reason it was fine to design or wear a bra over your clothes, but people had a mental block when you start talking about knickers,’ she said.

‘I thought: ‘Come on girls, we needed to break the doom and gloom, get out there and debunk this idea that genealogical issues are anything to be embarrassed or ashamed about’.’

To celebrate International Gynaecological Awareness Day on September 10, founder Ms Mazzella joined Lord Mayor Lisa Scaffidi, medical professionals and the public to sing, dance and brandish decorated cardboard knickers outside King Edward Memorial Hospital.

‘People told me I couldn’t use humour in raising awareness of gynaecological issues, and I said: ‘Well why not?’

‘Women should feel empowered to take control of their bodies and celebrate their femininity.

‘And if that means holding up big decorated knickers, then so be it.’

KEMH gynaecologist Stephen Lee said the gynae themed cheer squad was a fantastic way to get the conversation started.

‘Sometimes women have kept quiet about a worrying symptom for quite a while out of fear or embarrassment,’ Dr Lee said.

‘By bringing gynaecological health out in the open we can truly make a difference to the health and wellbeing of thousands WA women every year.