After losing her grandmother to cervical cancer, Marsai Martin has been working to spread awareness about gynecologic cancers, according to Heathline.
She’s teamed up with the Move4Her initiative as a celebrity ambassador to encourage women to help raise funds, increase awareness and drive early diagnosis of the five gyn cancers: cervical, ovarian, uterine, vaginal and vulvar.
“I’m very grateful to be a part of something like this that is very powerful and impactful and that can touch so many people around the world, especially women,” said Martin. “[It] is a way for me to honor my grandmother and also to inform young people about the five different gyn cancers and how to detect them and prevent them early.
One of the most important messages she wants to spread is about prevention.
“I feel like the biggest fear that I would have [for myself and] other people in my age group and even older is to know something that I could have prevented a long time ago or I least knew about and worked it out in a way that I was more aware of at an earlier age,” she said.
According to Healthline gynecologic cancers are detected in different ways, which is why it’s so important to know their signs, symptoms and to speak with a doctor if something feels wrong.
Abnormal vaginal bleeding, pelvic pain or pressure and change in bowel or bladder function can be symptoms. Dr. Ginger Gardner, chair of the Foundation for Women’s Cancer, said a pelvic exam can be effective at checking for vulvar cancer and pap smears screen can be effective in screening for cervix and vaginal cancers.
“For gynecologic cancers, it is important to understand what might put you at risk for these diseases, and what symptoms you need to be aware of. Getting information about the 5 gyn cancers is important, so you can prevent disease or find it early when the treatments are most effective,” said Gardner.