Improving life for women through cancer research

Gynaecological cancers are cancers of the female reproductive system.  These include ovarian and fallopian tube cancers, cervical cancer, endometrial cancer (cancer of the uterus) and cancer of the vulva and vagina.

Gynaecological cancers are common in our community.  Overall, gynaecological cancers accounted for 9% of all reported cancers in females in 2008.

In Australia on average 12 women are diagnosed with gynaecological cancer every day.
The most commonly diagnosed was uterine cancer with 2,016 cases in 2008, followed by ovarian cancer (1,272), cervical cancer (778), vulval cancer (282), cancer of other female organ and placenta (116) and vaginal cancer (70).

Survival from ovarian, uterine and cervical cancer has improved over time.
5-Year relative survival rates 1982-1987 2006-2010
Ovarian cancer* 32% 43%
Uterine cancer 74% 82%
Cervical cancer 68% 71%

*The reasons for the lower survival outcomes for ovarian cancer include the relatively high proportion of diagnoses at an advanced stage of the cancer. This is attributed to the non-specific nature of the symptoms of this cancer and the lack of effective tests available for ovarian cancer screening.

Gynaecological Cancer Symptoms and Information

 There are simple measures you can take to help identify symptoms of gynaecological cancer: 
1.  Know your family health history and be aware of gynaecological cancer symptoms
2.  Know and listen to your body
3.  Take control of your health, talk to your GP if you notice any irregular body changes.
Symptoms that may be caused by gynaecological cancers include:
.  abnormal or persistent vaginal bleeding
.  unusual vaginal discharge
.  pain, pressure or discomfort in the abdomen
.  swelling of the abdomen
.  change in bowel or bladder habits
.  pain during intercourse
.  vaginal itching, burning or soreness
.  lumps, sores or wart-like growths. 
The symptoms of gynaecological cancers depend on where the tumour is situated, the size of the tumour and how quickly it is growing
The Cancer Australia website, has made available the following information:
September 2012 statistical report on Gynaecological Cancers in Australia - an overview, published by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare.
Cervical cancer begins in the cervix, the lower, cylinder-shaped part of the uterus – Cancer Australia Fact Sheet 2010
For more information on Cervical Cancer - click here
Endometrial cancer (also known as uterine cancer) begins in the main body of the uterus. The uterus is where the baby or foetus grows when a women is pregnant – Cancer Australia Fact Sheet 2010
For more information on Endometrial Cancer - click here
Fallopian Tube
Fallopian Tube cancer begins in one or more of the fallopian tubes. Typically, every woman has two fallopian tubes, one located on each side of the uterus – Cancer Australia Fact Sheet 2010
For more information on Fallopian Tube Cancer - click here

Ovarian cancer begins in one or both ovaries, a pair of solid, oval-shaped organs producing hormones and eggs – Cancer Australia Fact Sheet 2010
For more information on Ovarian Cancer - click here
Vaginal cancer beings in the vagina (also called the birth canal), a muscular tube-like channel that extends from the cervix to the external part of the vulva – Cancer Australia Fact Sheet 2010
For more information on Vaginal Cancer - click here
Vulval cancer begins in the vulva, the outer part of the the female reproductive system, including the opening of the vagina – Cancer Australia Fact Sheet 2010
For more information on Vulval Cancer - click here
Placental cancer or GTD Cancer begins in the tissue that becomes the placenta, the organ the develops during pregnancy to nurture the foetus Cancer Australia Fact Sheet 2010
For more information on GTD Cancer - click here
Gynaecological Cancer Resources


Other Useful links to resources for patient and family.