Types of gynaecological cancer
Each year around 850 women are diagnosed with cervical cancer in Australia.
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. 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.
In December 2017, the Pap smear test was replaced with the renewed National Cervical Screening Program. The introduction of a vaccine against specific strains of the HPV, as well as the development of newer screening technologies have led to this change. The procedure is similar to the Pap smear test but will test for HPV infection. If your test results are normal, you will only need to be tested every five years. Cancer Council recommends that all women aged between 25 and 74 years of age participate in the National Cervical Screening Program every five years.
For further information visit Cancer Council's cervical screening website.
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 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 are around 1400 new cased of ovarian cancer diagnosed in Australia each year.
A good source of information on ovarian cancer in Australia is the ovarian cancer section of Cancer Australia's National Breast and Ovarian Cancer Centre.
Each year about 2700 Australian women are diagnosed with cancer of the uterus. A good 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 vulvar are rare in Australia, with approximately 500 cases each year. They are often grouped in data analyses as ‘other gynaecological cancers’. A further source for information on these cancers is Cancer Australia’s National Centre for Gynaecological Cancers.
- Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. ACIM (Australian Cancer Incidence and Mortality) Books. Canberra: AIHW
Find out more about types of cancer