Cancer Council Australia

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Gynaecological



Gynaecological cancers, or cancers of the female reproductive system, include cancers of the cervix, fallopian tubes, ovary, placenta, uterus (endometrium), vagina and vulva.

Together, there were 4534 gynaecological cancers diagnosed in Australia in 2008 and 1502 deaths in 2007. These cancers only affect women and together account for 9.4% of all cancers diagnosed in women.

The most common gynaecological cancers are cancers of the uterus, ovary and cervix; data on these is compiled individually. Fallopian tube, lacental, vaginal and vulval cancers are less common, and often grouped in data analyses as “other gynaecological cancers”.

Apart from cervical cancer, which is the only gynaecological cancer that can be prevented and detected early, there is little in the way of evidence-based public health policy in this area.

General information about these cancers is available in our fact sheets. More detailed data can be obtained from external websites linked in the following sections.

 

Types of gynaecological cancer
Cervical

In 2009, there were 771 cases of cervical cancer diagnosed in Australia and in 2007 there were 208 cervical cancer related deaths.

Of all gynaecological cancers, cervical cancer is the focus of the most public policy work. This is largely because cervical cancer is the only gynaecological cancer that can be detected in a precancerous stage through population screening, using the Pap test. Cervical cancer screening has been one of the great public health successes of the 20th century, in nations that run organised screening programs.

In addition, almost all cervical cancers are caused by the infectious human papillomavirus (HPV), which can be prevented through immunisation.

The cervical cancer chapter of the National Cancer Prevention Policy provides comprehensive policy information and recommendations on cervical cancer prevention and screening.

Around 7% of cervical cancer cases are linked to smoking; detailed information on tobacco control policy is available in our National Cancer Prevention Policy.

Ovarian

Ovarian cancer causes the highest mortality of all gynaecological cancer types in Australia, because it is aggressive but usually undetectable until it has metastasised (spread) and become difficult to treat. There were 1338 new cases diagnosed in Australia in 2009 and 848 deaths in 2007.

The best source of information on ovarian cancer in Australia is the ovarian cancer section of Cancer Australia’s National Breast and Ovarian Cancer Centre.

Uterine There were 2105 new cases of uterine cancer diagnosed in Australia in 2009 and 338 deaths in 2007. The best source of information on uterine cancer in Australia is the National Centre for Gynaecological Cancers, part of Cancer Australia.
'Other' gynaecological cancers

Cancers of the placenta, vagina and vulva are rare in Australia, with a combined 468 cases diagnosed in 2008 and 108 deaths recorded in 2007. They are often grouped in data analyses as “Other gynaecological cancers”.

The best source of information on these cancers is Cancer Australia’s National Centre for Gynaecological Cancers.

Sources

  • Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. ACIM (Australian Cancer Incidence and Mortality) Books. Canberra: AIHW; 2012.
  • Cancer Australia. Report to the nation - gynaecological cancers 2012, Cancer Australia, Surry Hills, NSW, 2012.

This page was last updated on: Thursday, April 2, 2015