WHAT ARE GYNAECOLOGICAL CANCERS?
Gynaecological cancers are cancers of the female reproductive system.
There are seven types: ovarian, uterine (endometrial or womb), vulval, vaginal, cervical and two, rare pregnancy-related cancers.
Though they aren’t talked about much in the community, gynaecological cancers are the third most commonly diagnosed cancer types for women.
Gynaecological cancers can be difficult to diagnose and only cervical cancer has a screening test; the cervical screening test (formally the Pap Test).
While 9 out of 10 women survive breast cancer five years after diagnosis, only 4 out of 10 women with ovarian cancer will have survived in the same period.
[Material sourced from aihw.org.au - * 5 years post diagnosis]
Gynaecological cancers are the 3rd most common cancers in women
women will learn they have a gynaecological cancer
women in Australia
Only 4 out of 10
Women diagnosed with ovarian cancer
will live more than five years
These are our mothers,
aunts, sisters, wives,
daughters and friends
What are the challenges
for treating gynaecological
Ovarian cancer symptoms can be vague and non-specific and therefore hard to recognise. Early diagnosis is vital to achieve best treatment outcomes for ovarian cancer and increase survival.
Endometrial or uterine cancer incidence is rising. Diagnosis has increased by 55% over the last 10 years. Obesity is a significant risk factor for endometrial cancer.
Cervical cancer has both a screening test and the HPV vaccine which is making a significant difference in incidence for younger women. Older women, migrant, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders and remote populations are less likely to access services and have a higher risk of cervical cancer.
9 / 10
women survive breast cancer
7 / 10
women survive gynaecological cancer
While symptoms of gynaecological cancer can be hard to pin down, there are some warning signs you should be aware of. Listen to your body for anything that seems out of the ordinary. If you have any family history of gynaecological cancer, or you are experiencing any of the following symptoms, talk to your GP.
What to look for:
- 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 sex
- vaginal itching, burning or soreness
- lumps, sores or wart-like growths
It’s important to know that having these symptoms doesn’t automatically mean you have a gynaecological cancer. But if they persist, make sure you see your doctor and have a thorough check-up, or request a referral to a gynaecological oncologist.