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released: 25 Sep 2012 author: AIHW, Cancer Australia media release

Data in this report provide a comprehensive picture of gynaecological cancer in Australia including how gynaecological cancer rates differ by geographical area, socioeconomic status, Indigenous status and country of birth.

ISSN 1039-3307; ISBN 978-1-74249-348-0; Cat. no. CAN 66; 254pp.; $38

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Summary 

Gynaecological cancers in Australia: an overview provides comprehensive national statistics on the five main types of gynaecological cancers, presenting the latest data and trends. 

On average, 12 females were diagnosed with a gynaecological cancer every day 

In 2008, a total of 4,534 new gynaecological cancers were diagnosed in Australia; this equates to an average of 12 females being diagnosed with this disease every day. Overall, gynaecological cancers accounted for 9% of all reported cancers in females, with the majority of cases diagnosed in females aged 60 and over. Uterine cancer was the most commonly diagnosed gynaecological cancer in 2008 (2,016 cases), followed by ovarian cancer (1,272), cervical cancer (778), vulval cancer (282), cancers of other female organ and placenta (116) and vaginal cancer (70).

The number of new ovarian and uterine cancers rose between 1982 and 2008. The age-standardised incidence rate for ovarian cancer fell significantly between 1982 and 2008, while for uterine cancer it rose significantly over the same period. For cervical cancer, a fall in both the number of new cases and age-standardised incidence rates was found from 1982 to 2008.

On average, 4 females died from a gynaecological cancer every day 

A total of 1,502 females died from a gynaecological cancer in 2007. This means that on average, four females in Australia died from this disease every day. Gynaecological cancers accounted for 9% of all cancer deaths in females and 2% of all deaths in females in 2007.

Ovarian cancer was the most common cause of gynaecological cancer deaths in 2007 (848 deaths), followed by uterine cancer (338 deaths) and cervical cancer (208 deaths).

The number of deaths from ovarian and uterine cancer rose between 1982 and 2007, while the number of cervical cancer deaths fell over the same period. The age-standardised mortality rates for ovarian cancer fell significantly between 1982 and 2007, while for uterine cancer it was relatively stable. For cervical cancer, the mortality rate fell between 1982 and 2002, after which it was relatively stable.

Survival from ovarian, uterine and cervical cancer has improved 

In the period 2006-2010, the 5-year relative survival was 82% for uterine cancer, 72% for cervical cancer and 43% for ovarian cancer. The reasons for the lower survival outcomes for ovarian cancer include the relatively high proportion of diagnoses at an advanced stage, attributable to the non-specific nature of the symptoms of this cancer and the lack of effective tests available for population-based screening.

Survival from ovarian, uterine and cervical cancer has improved over time. From 1982-1987 to 2006-2010, the 5-year relative survival for ovarian cancer increased significantly from 32% to 43%, for uterine cancer from 75% to 82%, and for cervical cancer from 68% in 1982-1987 to 71% in 1988-1993 but no significant changes were seen in the more recent time periods.

Australian females who were diagnosed with ovarian, uterine and cervical cancer had better survival prospects than their counterparts in many other countries and regions.

Recommended citation

AIHW, Cancer Australia 2012. Gynaecological cancers in Australia: an overview. Cancer series no. 70. Cat. no. CAN 66. Canberra: AIHW.

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