Women most a risk of ovarian cancer have fewer ‘friendly’ bacteria in the vagina, according to research published today in The Lancet Oncology.
Gynaecological cancer charity The Eve Appeal – who jointly funded the research with the European Commission’s Horizon 2020 initiative – hope the findings will inspire a vital conversation about factors that can influence and interfere with the vaginal microbiome.
“There’s very little we know about how ovarian cancer starts, so what’s really exciting about this paper is that it shows the significance vaginal bacteria has in terms of disease prevention,” says Athena Lamnisos, CEO of The Eve Appeal.
“This is something you can actually make a difference to. You can literally influence your vaginal fauna and flora so, knowing the vaginal microbiome is important, you can then look at all the things that affect those bacteria.”
The Eve Appeal is now warning women to think again about using so-called feminine hygiene products such as vaginal douches, claiming their impact on the vaginal microbiome is not being properly considered.