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Cancer survival rates improving

Every day 12 women in Australia are diagnosed with a gynaecological cancer, but survival prospects are improving, says a report from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare released today.

Gynaecological cancers accounted for 9 per cent of all cancer deaths in women in 2007, said AIHW spokesperson Anne Bech.

The report shows uterine cancer was the most commonly diagnosed gynaecological cancer, followed by ovarian cancer and cervical cancers.

While the number of new cases of all gynaecological cancers increased between 1982 and 2008, the overall incidence rate has fallen by 12 per cent.

The report shows that the five-year relative survival rate for ovarian, uterine and cervical cancers has improved over time and that Australian women diagnosed with these cancers have better survival prospects than women in many other countries.

According to the statistics, 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).

“While the survival rate for ovarian cancer has improved significantly in recent years, it still remains low in comparison with other gynaecological cancers,” said Cancer Australia CEO Dr Helen Zorbas.

“The reasons for this lower survival outcome include the relatively high proportion of ovarian cancers diagnosed at an advanced stage due to the non-specific nature of symptoms and the lack of an effective screening test,” said Zorbas.

The report presents national statistics about gynaecological cancers for the first time as a group.
For the full statistics see www.aihw.gov.au

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