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Despite improvements in survival rates for ovarian cancer, the
prognosis for women diagnosed with the disease remains relatively
poor, according to the latest national report on ovarian cancer
released today by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare
(AIHW) and National Breast and Ovarian Cancer Centre (NBOCC).
The report, Ovarian cancer in Australia: an overview,
2010, shows that in 2006, there were 1,226 cases of ovarian
cancer diagnosed in Australia, which equates to an average of three
women being diagnosed with the disease every day.
'Between 1982 and 2006, although the overall number of cases
increased (largely due to a growing and ageing population) the
incidence rate dropped slightly from 12.4 to 10.7 per 100,000
women,' said Christine Sturrock, Head of the AIHW's Cancer and
Almost 800 Australian women, an average of two per day, died
from ovarian cancer in 2006.
One in 77 women will be diagnosed with ovarian cancer by the
time they reach the age of 85.
The report shows that 40% of women who were diagnosed with
ovarian cancer between 2000 and 2006 were alive five years after
their diagnosis. This is in contrast to those diagnosed between
1982 and 1987, when only 33% were alive five years after their
'Although survival rates have improved since 1982, the challenge
remains that ovarian cancer is difficult to detect in its early
stages,' said Dr Helen Zorbas, CEO NBOCC.
'Improved survival rates give increasing hope to women diagnosed
today, however, a better understanding of the biology of ovarian
cancer, and the need for an effective early detection test remain
key areas of focus for future research,' said Dr Zorbas.
The report also found survival rates were significantly poorer
for older women than younger women.
'Reasons for poorer survival rates among older women include a
greater likelihood of these women being diagnosed with more
aggressive types of cancer or when the cancer has already spread,'
said Ms Sturrock.
'In the absence of a screening test, women who experience new or
persistent symptoms of ovarian cancer are encouraged to see their
doctor,' said Dr Zorbas.
'The symptoms of ovarian cancer can include abdominal bloating,
abdominal or back pain, appetite loss or feeling full quickly,
changes in toilet habits, unexplained weight loss or gain,
indigestion or heartburn, and fatigue,' said Dr Zorbas.
The report will be launched today by Minister for Health and
Ageing, Nicola Roxon, at a Teal Ribbon Day event at Parliament
Wednesday 24 February 2010
Further information: Christine Sturrock, AIHW,
tel. 02 6244 1118, mob. 0407 915 851
To interview Dr Helen Zorbas, NBOCC, contact Erin Sharp on 0458
For media copies of the report: (02) 6244
Ovarian cancer in Australia: an overview, 2010